- Vaccination against human papillomaviruses
- Check-up and HPV test
- Safe sex is important
In cervical cancer, the best cure is to diagnose the disease at an early stage. Therefore, regular check-ups are an important measure to prevent the cancer. But there are other ways to take precautions.
Vaccination against human papillomaviruses
Since cervical cancer is caused by human papillomaviruses, vaccination against the pathogens may be a first precautionary measure. It is especially recommended for girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years before the first sexual intercourse. If the vaccination is made in this phase of life, take over the health insurance costs. But even for women beyond this age limit, the vaccination may be useful: As long as no sexual contact with an infected partner has taken place, the sprayed substance also provides the necessary immune protection. For immunization three syringes are needed within one year.
Check-up and HPV test
To prevent the development of cervical cancer, you should go to the check-up regularly. Every woman over the age of 20 can have her cervix smeared once a year. With this so-called Pap test conspicuous cell changes can be detected. The smear test is also recommended for women who have already been vaccinated, as vaccination against human papillomaviruses can not protect against all types of pathogens. The costs for the test are covered by the statutory health insurance funds.
The HPV test can also be used as a precautionary measure. Unlike the Pap smear detects this already infections, where no cell changes have occurred. Studies show that the HPV test overlooks fewer precancerous lesions or tumors in the cervix. Another advantage: in contrast to the Pap method, the HPV test only has to be performed every five years. Only with a positive result follow more detailed controls, first with a Pap smear. In Germany, however, the HPV test has not yet been included in the cancer screening program and it is not paid by the health insurance. The reason: HPV infections are common and many, detected by the test infections disappear again. Therefore, the HPV test worries women unnecessarily, as some experts say.
Safe sex is important
The human papillomaviruses are mostly transmitted during sexual intercourse. Therefore, condoms can reduce the risk of infection and prevent cervical cancer . However, they can not completely prevent a possible infection because the pathogens can also be present in areas that are not covered by the condom.