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Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer - How to prevent?

Cervical cancer is highly preventable and curable when detected through regular screening and treated early. 

There are abnormal cellular changes in the cervix before cervical cancer develops. These abnormal changes are known as cervical pre-cancer or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Successful treatment of CIN removes a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. 

Cervical cancer can be prevented by having regular screening with Pap smear tests and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests so that any pre-cancer can be treated early. 

HPV vaccination during adolescence is also effective in reducing a woman’s risk of cervical cancer in the future. 

Screening test 
As part of the National Cervical Screening Programme, all women aged between 25 and 69 who have ever had sexual activity are recommended to go for regular screening (Pap smear test or HPV test). Cervical cancer screening can be done every 3 to 5 years, as advised by your doctor. 

During the Pap smear test or HPV test, a scraping of cells from the surface of the cervix is obtained during a vaginal examination. It is a quick, simple, and painless test. 

HPV vaccination 
In Singapore, HPV vaccines can be administered to females aged between 9 and 26. The full vaccination includes three vaccine doses spread over a 6-month period. HPV vaccination is available at polyclinics and GP clinics. 

Vaccine efficacy is extremely high for women who have not been exposed to HPV-16 and HPV-18 infection and the protection is long-lasting. However, the HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV, so regular Pap smear or HPV test screening is still recommended for women who have had the vaccine.