Anyone with a cervix can develop cervical cancer, as it starts in the cells of the cervix. It mostly affects women under the age of 45. It is very unlikely you will develop cervical cancer if you are 65 and have gone for cervical screening when invited, this is because it develops at a slow rate. If your last cervical screening result was normal, you won't get any more invites once you turn 65.
Long-lasting and persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) causes virtually all cervical cancers. HPV 16 and HPV 18, cause 70% of cervical cancers worldwide. Nearly all people who are sexually active will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
How to lower your chance of getting cervical cancer:
Children aged 12-13 are all offered the HPV vaccine. The vaccine reduces your chances of getting human papillomavirus (HPV) and helps protect you against all cancers caused by HPV.
This common virus can cause genital warts and spreads through skin contact. The majority of HPV types are harmless, however some are linked to certain cancers, including cervical cancer, mouth cancer, penile cancer and anal cancer. Attending a cervical screening - more commonly known as a smear test - often can prevent it.
This test aims to check the health of the cervix, find and treat changes to cells before they turn into cancer. All people with a cervix between the ages of 25 - 64 are invited for regular cervical screening.
It is very important to attend these screenings as it helps find and treat any changes in the cells of the cervix before they can turn into cancer.
‘In the UK, 1 in 4 people don’t attend their cervical screening test’ – Health Assured
Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect you from cervical cancer however this remains your choice. Encourage the women in your life to make their health a priority by getting your annual wellness exam.