Cervical cancer - Minimising risk / Prevention

Giving up smoking is one of the best ways of reducing your risk of cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. It will also reduce your risk of developing other cancers.

Regular cervical screening tests

Having regular cervical screening tests is the most important thing that you can do to reduce your risk of cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. Cervical screening tests can detect the cellThe basic unit of all living organisms. changes that may lead to cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. These pre-cancerousMalignant, a tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. changes can be treated to stop cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. from developing.

It is important that you always attend your appointments for having a cervical screening test. If you are unsure when your next appointment should be, contact your doctor or health clinic. The Tests and diagnosis section gives more information about the cervical screening test.

My biggest regret is having ignored my repeated invitations for a smear. I have beaten myself up about this, but I don't have a time machine and have to learn to accept my mistake. Lindsay

Vaccination against HPV

There are now effective immunisations that offer protection against the two strains of the HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers. virusA microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. (HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers.-16 and HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers.-18) responsible for most cases of cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

The vaccine is only effective for women who have not already been exposed to these strains of the virusA microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells.. Young women can minimise their risk of contracting HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers. 16 and 18 by being immunised before they become sexually active.

The vaccine injection may also benefit some sexually active women who have not already been exposed to the virusA microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells..

See the HPV vaccine explained practical help feature.

Smoking

If you smoke, your risk of developing cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. is doubled. Giving up smoking is one of the best ways of reducing your risk of cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. It will also reduce your risk of developing other cancers.

See the quick guide, Smoking - how to stop.

Safer sex

Using condoms will give you some protection against three risk factors for cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.:

  • HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers.
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes.

See the quick guide, Safer sex.