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Cervical Cancer Screening

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. The body of the uterus (the upper part) is where a baby grows, The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to find cervix cell changes and early cervical cancers before they cause symptoms.

Screening tests offer the best chance to detect cervical cancer at an early stage when successful treatment is likely. Screening can also actually prevent most cervical cancers by finding abnormal cervix cell changes (pre-cancers) so that they can be treated before they have a chance to turn into a cervical cancer. The Pap test is the best way we have to screen for this type of cancer.

Risk Factors
  • multiple sex partners
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • smoking or exposure to second hand smoke
  • HIV infection
  • chlamydia infection
  • dietary factors
  • hormonal contraception
  • multiple pregnancies
  • exposure before birth to the hormonal drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)
  • a family history of cervical cancer
What Can You Do?

A Pap test can find changes in the cervix that can be treated before they become cancer. The Pap test is also very effective in finding cervical cancer early, when it is highly curable. Contact your Local Health Department or health care provider for an appointment today.

Pap Screenings

  • The American Cancer Society recommends women should begin having a pap test about three years after they start having sex, but no later than age 21.
  • The pap test should be done every year if a regular test is performed, or every two years if the liquid-based pap test is used.
  • Talk with your health care provider about how often to have this test done.
  • Prior to having your pap test:
    • do not douche, use tampons or vaginal creams for two days before test
    • do not have sex two days before test
    • schedule your test for when you will not be having your period.

Tobacco Cessation

The use of tobacco in any form is a great health concern. Even if you don't smoke, reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke. If you use tobacco products, prepare yourself to quit as soon as possible.

  • Set a date to stop and mark it on your calendar. Twenty-four hours before the start date make everyone aware of your goal to stop.
  • Remove the smell of tobacco by cleaning your house and car. Remember to get rid of lighters, ashtrays and matches.
  • You can use over-the-counter aids such as nicotine patches and gum. Contact your health insurance provider to see if Nicotine replacement therapy is a covered service.
  • Know what your triggers are that make you want to use tobacco products and be prepared with chewing gum, celery or carrot sticks.
  • Kentucky has a free Quit Now program that helps you quit using tobacco products. You can contact the Quit Now program at (800) 784-8669.



Last Updated 9/28/2012