You can prevent cervical cancer with regular screening tests, like the Pap test and the HPV DNA test (HPV test). The Pap test is a screening test that looks for early signs of cervical cancer. It finds abnormal cells on a woman's cervix. For this test, your doctor takes cells from your cervix so that they can be looked at with a microscope. Cancer screening tests look for early signs of cancer so you can take steps to avoid ever getting cancer. The Pap and HPV tests screen for early signs of cervical cancer. It looks for abnormal cells on your cervix that could turn into cancer over time. That way, problems can be found and treated before they ever turn into cancer. All women should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21.
An HPV test is a test that looks for HPV on a woman's cervix. Doctors take cells by swabbing the cervix. This is often done at the same time as a Pap test, and may be called co-testing or HPV co-testing. The HPV test can be used at the same time as the Pap test, called the HPV co-test, for women 30 years of age and older. The HPV test may also be used after an inconclusive Pap test, called a reflex HPV test, for women 21 years of age and older. For women ages 30 and older, the HPV test can be used along witht he Pap test. This is called HPV co-testing. Screening tests can find early problems before they become cancer. That way, problems can be found and removed before they ever become cancer.
HPV is very common in women younger than age 30. Since most HPV that is found in these women will never cause them health problems, it is not useful to test young women for HPV. Most young women will fight off HPV within a few years.
HPV is less common in women older than age 30. HPV also is more likely to signal a health problem for these women, who may have had the virus for many years because their bodies did not fight off HPV. Doctors may use the HPV test to tell if these women are at higher risk for cervical cancer and if they need to be screened more often.
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for additional HPV information.
Mammograms and Breast Exams
Bone Mineral Density testing - BMD
- Due to the high incidence of breast cancer in the US and the potential to reduce deaths from it when caught early, it is recommend that mammography screening be offered annually to women beginning at age 40. We encourage women to have annual mammograms.
Annual clinical breast exams (CBE) are recommended for women ages 40 and older, and every one to three years for women ages 20-39.
- Bone mineral density testing is recommended for women 65 and over no more than every two years. Post menopausal women younger than age 65 who have more than one or more risk factor should also be tested.
- BMDs are used to screen for osteoporosis and bone loss. BMDs can help detect problems before a fracture occurs.
- BMDs can be performed in our office.
All women age 45 and older should have the cholesterol levels checked every 5 years. Women with any of the following risk factors may need to be tested and at a younger age:
- have had high cholesterol or heart disease
- have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
- have diabetes