Protect yourself against cervical cancer: Learn about HPV testing

I'm sure you have heard about HPV testing by now, but have you paid attention to it?  I searched my email, and I actually found an email about it back in December of 2005 linking directly to the site I'm about to share with you.  I think the only reason I really paid attention to it though was because I have 2 daughters.


I remember when Gardisal came out, I wanted to run out and get my daughter vaccinated.  She was 9 and at the minimum age for receiving it.  I was just so excited that their was a vaccine that would help prevent cancer.  Then of course, I took a step back and though about the risks involved, etc. I ended up starting her on the 3 doses at her 12 year check up, and she just recently finished the 3rd dose this past July. Gardasil® (Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus [Types 6, 11, 16, and 18] Recombinant Vaccine) is approved to prevent certain conditions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) in girls and women age 9 to 26. It is also approved to prevent genital warts in boys and men age 9 to 26.


My daughter after receiving 1 of her 3
doses of Gardasil.  Gotta love the face


I still can't put into words how amazing I feel this is.  But, what about women over 26?  How can we protect ourselves from HPV? Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide, yet is easily preventable because we know its cause, HPV.


HPV testing can identify if you have one of the "high-risk" infections on your cervix that can cause cervical cancer. For women 30 and older, the HPV test can be performed at the same time as the Pap test to help doctors identify which women are at greatest risk. However not all doctors automatically use both tests. Our research into cervical cancer prevention shouldn't stop and start with our daughters.


How do we protect ourselves against cervical cancer?  When you go to your doctor, don't just get the Pap Smear, ask for the HPV Test as well.  

The digene HPV Test is the leading test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that directly detects the presence of high-risk types of the HPV virus. When used along with a Pap to screen women 30 and older, it more accurately identifies who is at risk of developing cervical cancer than the Pap alone. Here's why: 

  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) has helped diagnose many women with cervical cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. A trained lab professional looks through a microscope at a sample of your cervical cells to determine if any abnormalities are present that could signal the presence of disease. 
  • The digene HPV Test – which can usually be run by the lab on the same sample of cells used for the Pap – uses molecular technology to detect the presence of high-risk types of HPV, which is what causes cervical cells to become abnormal in the first place. 
  • For women over 30 years old, who are most at risk of cervical cancer, getting both tests provides the best assurance of finding cervical disease before it becomes cancer. Studies show that, on average, the combination of thedigene HPV Test and the Pap identifies 95-100 percent of advanced cervical disease (CIN 2, CIN 3, or cancer). It is important to remember, however, that the presence of HPV does not mean you have cervical disease. An additional exam is needed to determine whether disease exists. 
  • It is recommended that younger women (20-30), in whom HPV infections are common but usually temporary, get an HPV test only if their Pap smear looks "inconclusive" or "borderline," to help their doctor or nurse determine whether further examination is needed. 
Help spread the word about cervical cancer to all the women you know.  It is important to be screened for this cancer!  You can get printable brochures by clicking here to help you out.  

Some websites to check out ~ 

Connect with HPV test on Facebook and Twitter.  



I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of the QIAGEN digeneHPV test. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Comments

This is so important! I recently had my daughter vaccinated (the first of the series). I am so glad this is available for young women!
The Phantom said…
My daughter Audrey just received her first Gardasil vaccination along with her Tdap and meningitis shots. We both thought it was a good idea for her to get it.

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