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Cervical cancer, a disease that affects the female reproductive system, is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex.
Cervical cancer is a highly preventable disease because screening tests (such as the Pap test), and vaccines to prevent HPV infections are available. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
HPV vaccines protect against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer.
HPV vaccines offer the greatest health benefit to persons who receive all 3 doses before exposure to HPV through sexual activity. Routine HPV vaccination is recommended for girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. Vaccination also is recommended for females through age 26 years and for males through age 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously. Any man who has sex with other men, and men with compromised immune systems (including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection ), also may be vaccinated through age 26 years.
Although all women are at risk for cervical cancer, it occurs most often in women over age 30. For women over age 26 years, the best way to prevent cervical cancer is to get routine cervical cancer screening, as recommended.
Start the New Year right—call your doctor today to discuss the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer screening, or to schedule a Pap smear.
Find more detailed information on the human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV vaccines. For more information on how to prevent cervical cancer, visit the CDC's page on cervical cancer: the preventable gynecologic cancer.