Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented entirely, by having regular Pap smear and HPV screenings. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers.
A Pap test, also called a Pap smear, checks for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus.
The American Cancer Society recommends women begin Pap test screenings at age 21. Talk with your doctor about what timing is right for you.
Sometimes you will get an HPV test at the same time as your Pap test. An HPV test may find some types of the virus that can cause cervical cancer. It looks for some high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), including types 16 and 18, which cause most cases of cervical cancer.
Talk with your doctor about which tests you need and how often.