At the OSUCCC – James, cancer research experts focus on studying cervical cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The OSUCCC – James consistently paves the way in learning more about what causes cervical cancer — leading to even more highly targeted prevention, care and treatment.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Cancer screening exams can help find cervical cancer at its earliest stage when the chances for successful treatment, optimal outcomes and fewer side effects are greatest. These tests are usually done when a patient is healthy and has no specific symptoms.
Not only are expert cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James continually working to detect and diagnose cervical cancer early, but they are also developing additional tests to detect and diagnose cancer even earlier, leading to improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects.
The Importance of a Pap Test
One of the best screening tests for cervical cancer is an annual Pap test (also known as a Pap smear). A Pap test is designed to find abnormal or precancerous cells in and around the cervix.
For women aged 30 or older, or for women with atypical Pap test results, a doctor may recommend a test for HPV (human papillomavirus), a virus that is spread by sexual contact and that is very common among sexually active people. HPV can create changes in the cells in the cervix that, if not treated, can lead to cancer in some cases.
There are vaccines that can help protect young women from some HPV infections. These vaccines are used to prevent cancer that can result from an HPV infection. Girls as young as 9 years can get the vaccine. The vaccine is also recommended for females 13 to 18 years old.
Vaccines can also help prevent HPV infection in boys and young men, starting at ages 11 or 12.
You should talk with your gynecologist about whether a Pap test is appropriate for you. Learn more about cancer screening guidelines for women.
Other Risk Factors
- Giving birth to many children
- Having many sexual partners
- Having first sexual intercourse at a young age
- Smoking cigarettes
- Using oral contraceptives ("the Pill")
- Having a weakened immune system
(Source: National Cancer Institute)
Not everyone with risk factors gets cervical cancer. But if you have any risk factors, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have received a cervical cancer diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a cervical cancer specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.