Cervical Cancer: Early Detection & Prevention

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Cervical Cancer: Early Detection & Prevention
Cervical Cancer: Early Detection & Prevention

Video: Cervical Cancer: Early Detection & Prevention

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Video: Cervical Cancer, HPV, and Pap Test, Animation 2023, January

Cervical Cancer: Early Detection & Prevention

Prevention and early detection of cervical cancer are quite realistic. Since the development of this type of cancer proceeds through preliminary stages (so-called dysplasias), early detection of these preliminary stages in particular is very possible. In addition, known risk factors can often be avoided in advance…


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  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • HPV vaccination
  • Early detection with a PAP smear
  • Avoid risk factors

HPV vaccination

Almost three quarters of all cervical cancers are caused by the HP virus types 16 and 18. Effective prevention is therefore possible with HPV vaccination. The vaccination against human papillomaviruses is included in the free vaccination program for girls and boys from the age of 9 up to the age of 12. The vaccination is also carried out as part of school vaccinations (preferably in the 4th grade). At the public vaccination centers of the federal states there are catch-up vaccinations for children up to the age of 15 at a reduced cost price. The vaccine is given from 9 to 15 years of age in two partial vaccinations at least six months apart.

The vaccination is also recommended for older girls and boys and women and men of sexually active age. The HPV vaccination is preventive and should therefore ideally take place before entering the sexually active age. The vaccination is also recommended later, as it protects against new infections. But only against those HPV types that are contained in the vaccine. For more information, see Vaccination Against Human Papillomavirus.

The vaccination also appears to protect against other HPV-induced malignant neoplasms of the vulva (external reproductive organs of women), vagina, anus, penis, larynx and oropharynx (pharynx).

Note It is possible at sexually active age to use virus typing to determine whether an infection with the above-mentioned virus types is already present. A vaccination is always useful. Although it does not affect an existing infection, it protects against a new one.

Early detection with a PAP smear

The so-called PAP smear is a diagnostic procedure in which cells in the cervix are assessed under the microscope for malignancy or precancerous lesions. As part of a gynecological examination, cells from the cervix, cervix and vagina are obtained, for example with a small brush (“cervix brush”). In order to be able to see the area from which cells are taken, the vagina is unfolded with a speculum so that the cervix is ​​clearly visible. The examination can be perceived as somewhat uncomfortable, but it usually does not cause any pain. The collected cells are placed on a glass slide and then sent to a cytology laboratory.

Women should have this examination once a year as part of their preventive medical check-up. The smear should not be taken during your menstrual period. Shorter examination periods may also be necessary, depending on the consultation with the doctor. If the PAP smear is suspicious, you will be informed about it and further examinations will be initiated.

Note Even vaccinated women should always undergo a gynecological check-up with a PAP smear, as the vaccines currently available are not effective against all HP viruses that can cause cervical cancer.

Avoid risk factors

It is also possible to prevent known risk factors. The condom offers a certain protection against sexually transmitted diseases and thus also against an HPV infection. Not smoking and taking proper care of your intimate areas also count as preventive measures. See Cervical Cancer Frequency and Risk Factors for more information.

Note Early symptoms that women should look out for include bleeding that occurs after intercourse, irregular menstrual bleeding and bleeding after menopause. These symptoms should be clarified quickly by a gynecologist.

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