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Screening for cervical cancer
The most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer is infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is spread mainly through sexual contact (including sexual intercourse, genital skin-to-skin contact and oral sex), and the virus can appear years after you have been exposed to it. Using a condom during sex may decrease the chance that you will pick up HPV, but a condom can only provide partial protection as it doesn’t cover the entire genital area.
Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine, regular Pap tests are still needed. The HPV vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of HPV.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.