Testing is your best protection against cervical cancer. There are typically two different types of tests that can detect your risk of cervical cancer – Pap smear and a HPV test.
A Pap smear identifies changes that have occurred in the cells of the cervix, when the process of cancer has already begun. The high-risk HPV test looks for the presence of the high-risk HPV virus before changes occur in the cells of the cervix, and before cancer develops.
Getting tested for HPV is not just about knowing if you are at risk of cervical cancer, it’s also to find out that you’re not at risk.
A Pap smear does not offer complete protection against cervical cancer.
Studies have shown that up to 1 in 3 women who had been told they were well after receiving a Pap smear actually had cervical cancer.
The Detail is important
While some HPV tests just tell you if you do or don’t have HPV, some tests let you know if you have high risk HPV and some can also tell you if you have the two highest risk strains - HPV 16 and HPV 18.
Speak with your doctor about getting a HPV test that specifically detects HPV 16 and 18.
Studies showed up to 1/3
cervical cancers occurred in women
with normal Pap results.