You may reduce your risk of cervical cancer if you:

  • Use a condom every time you have sex
  • Delay first intercourse
  • Have fewer sexual partners
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get vaccinated against HPV

Get vaccinated against HPV

Vaccines can protect against the most dangerous types of HPV — the virus that plays a role in causing most cervical cancers. Vaccination is available for girls and women ages 9 to 26. The vaccine is most effective if given to girls before they become sexually active.

Boys and young men can also receive a vaccine against HPV. In males, HPV infection increases the risk of penile cancer, anal cancer and genital warts. In theory, vaccinating boys against HPV may also help protect girls from the virus.

Have routine Pap tests

Routine Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix so they can be followed or treated in order to prevent cervical cancer. Work with your doctor to determine the best schedule for Pap tests. Most medical organizations suggest women begin routine Pap tests at age 21 and repeat them every few years. Talk with your doctor about what's best for you.

Jun. 28, 2013