Cervical cancer starts as pre-cancerous cells in the lining of a woman’s cervix – the lower part of her uterus. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without treatment, though these abnormal cells can turn into invasive cancers for some women. Unfortunately, cervical cancer often has no signs or symptoms until it has spread outside the cervix. However, screenings and early treatment can prevent almost all cervical cancers from occurring.
Screening Tests for Cervical Cancer
Screening aims to find pre-cancer or early cancer when it is more treatable and curable. Regular screening has been shown to prevent cervical cancers and save lives. Cervical cancer screenings include HPV (human papillomavirus) and Pap tests. Whichever screening test you receive, the most important thing to remember is to get screened regularly.
These tests can detect pre-cancerous changes and can help to prevent cancer from developing. The HPV vaccine is also available as a cancer-fighting tool and can help guard the body against the virus. This vaccine is recommended and available for those 45 and younger.
Cervical screenings can take place during your annual gynecological exam. If you are interested in having a screening test or in receiving the HPV vaccine, we can help you here on Block Island. There are also funding opportunities for those who are uninsured or underinsured.
Please call BIHS at (401) 466-2974 for more information or to make an appointment.