Questions about Cervical Screening

What causes cervical cancer?

70% of cervical cancer is caused by certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

What is HPV?

HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a common family of viruses found in both males and females. Some HPV viruses cause genital warts and other HPV viruses cause cancer of the cervix.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is passed from one person to another through intimate sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact.

What is a Pap test?

A Pap test is a screening test that looks for abnormal cells on the cervix. These cells could develop into a cancer if not found and treated.

What can I do to prevent cervical cancer?

Talk to your doctor about getting the HPV vaccine, preferably before you are sexually active. The vaccine prevents 70% of HPV infections.

How can I reduce my risk of preventing cervical cancer by 90%?

Go for regular Pap tests, including follow-up Pap tests for abnormal results, and get the HPV vaccine.

Are there any symptoms of the HPV virus?

No. There are no symptoms and often people do not know that they have an HPV infection.

Does a Pap test check for cancer of the ovary, vagina or uterus?

No. Nor does it check for sexually transmitted infections.

Do I need a Pap test if I only have sex with women?

Yes. Pap tests are necessary for all women who have ever been sexually active.