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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.
The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.