A Pap test
checks the cervix for abnormal cell changes. Your doctor takes cells from your cervix to examine under a microscope. How often you need a Pap test depends on your age and health history.Human papillomavirus
(HPV) infection appears to be involved in the development of more than 90% of cases; most people who have had HPV infections, however, do not develop cervical cancer. Other risk factors include having many sexual partners, smoking, taking birth control pills, and engaging in early sexual contact.
Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix
, are available to protect against HPV infection, and may prevent up to 90% of cervical cancers.Cervical cancer
can usually be cured if it is found and treated in the early stages.