Cervical Cancer Awareness Week is marked in Israel and around the world every year between January 16 and 21.

The Israel Cancer Society published this week up-to-date information that you should know:

In the last decade, more women in Israel (30% more) are diagnosed with precancerous lesions in the cervix - these are early stages of the disease - thanks to tests for early detection.

In the past year, about 1,200 women were diagnosed in Israel with precancerous changes in the cervix.

Cervical cancer is a cancer that in most cases develops slowly, so with the help of a simple test it is possible to diagnose at an early stage and there are better results of treatment and recovery.

What can you do to keep your cervix healthy?

- Tests

- Vaccinations

- Keeping a healthy lifestyle (for example- stop smoking!)

As testing and medical diagnosis is developing, around the world and in Israel there is a transformation from using the traditional Pap test as a preliminary test for early diagnosis of cervical cancer, to using HPV test to detect the presence of HPV- the Human Papilloma Virus, the Virus that is considered to be the No.1 cause of cervical cancer.

The test is done by removing cells from the cervix to detect presence of HPV. In L.E.M laboratory we use the advanced BD test that can show If one of the 14 high risk types of HPV is present.

If so, the same sample will be used to perform a PAP test- to check whether or not there are any abnormal or pre-cancerous cells present. Your doctor will decide what course of treatment will be necessary- routine follow up, or further Colposcopy examination.

Cervical screening is recommended for the ages 25 to 60, and if there is an indication, after that as well. 

Here's what you can expect from this test.

What is an HPV Screening?

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that spreads through sexual contact and can cause genital warts and other diseases such as cervical cancer. It affects both men and women. This virus can come in many different varieties, which means there are many different strains of HPV, some of which will not present any symptoms, but others may lead to more severe problems.

Will it Hurt?

The HPV screening is a simple procedure. You will be asked to undress from the waist down, the doctor will expand your vagina with a speculum and a swab will be inserted into your vagina in order to collect cells from your cervix.

What are the Risks?

Like all medical procedures, there are some risks associated with HPV screening. These might include: slight pain, discomfort and in some cases, bleeding. Choose a physician that you know or is recommended. It is also advised to be accompanied with a relative or a friend.

Will I get My Results Right Away?

You will usually get your results in 14 work days. The test helps identify women who may be at risk of developing cancer and allows them to get treatment before it becomes too late.

Is HPV screening mandatory?

Regular screening for cervical cancer is recommended in all countries.

How does an HPV test work?

This test works by looking for DNA from the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that spreads through sexual contact. However, most people who have this virus will not develop cancerous cells or lead to symptoms. During regular tests, the HPV test comes in to find out what type of strain you have and help determine if further testing or treatment is necessary.

Why should I get an HPV Test?

Regular screening to detect cervical cancer is recommended in Israel every 3 years for women aged 25-60. This test can be used as a preventative measure against cancer.

How do I prepare for the HPV Test?

The preparation for this test is minimal - do not put anything into your vagina 48 hours before your appointment. Also, wear loose-fitting clothing to better allow access during your exam. Please note that this test cannot be done when you are menstruating, so you may want to schedule your appointment after your period instead.

How long is the HPV test procedure?

 The length of the entire appointment will depend on how many questions are asked by your doctor, but it should not last any longer than 10 minutes. It includes everything from obtaining a medical history to the tests themselves.

Will I have to take medicine before my HPV test?

No. If you have any special medical condition, please consult your gynecologist.

Wrapping Up!

So, the human papillomavirus test is a great way to be proactive about your health. It can help you detect potential problems before they become major concerns.