What is Cervical Cancer and Why Should I Get Screened?

Jan 172014

What is Cervical Cancer Calendar

The American Cancer Society estimates that every year 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US and every year 4,000 women die from complications related to cervical cancer. Major awareness campaigns have been created to help women understand this disease but even now thousands of women are unaware of the causes of cervical cancer and the simple preventative measures they can take.




What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The cervix is a tight muscle that normally stays shut with only a microscopic hole to allow menstrual fluid out and sperm in. During childbirth it opens to allow the baby to pass from the uterus and into the vagina.

 Female Reproductive System Blog Image

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

Most types of cervical cancer are caused by genital human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted disease. Nearly all sexually active men and women get at least one form of HPV at some point in their lives, even those who only have one sexual partner.  There are over 150 different strains of HPV, and many are essentially harmless with no symptoms. Others, such as HPV 6 and HPV 11, cause 90% of genital warts. More dangerous are HPV 16 and HPV 18, which are estimated to cause 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.

Just because a woman has HPV doesn’t mean that she will develop cervical cancer. In most cases your body’s immune system fights off the infection within a few years, but if it doesn’t, HPV can cause some of your cervical cells to become “abnormal”. These abnormal cell changes are pre-cancerous and over time, could potentially lead to cervical cancer. This is why early detection through cervical cancer screening is so important: catching abnormal cell changes early and monitoring or getting treatment for those cells can save your life.


Most of the time precancerous cells and early stage cervical cancer don’t have any symptoms and won’t have any until the cancer has spread. However, one of the most common symptoms that can occur is irregular bleeding during or after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause. Other symptoms include:

  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discharge tinged with blood
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during urination

Preventing Cervical Cancer: Cervical Screening

Since there are often no symptoms for cervical cancer the screening process is crucial for protecting yourself. Nearly half of all cervical cancer cases in the US are found in women who were never screened for the disease and 10% of cases were found in women who hadn’t been screened within the last 5 years.Cervical cancer screening is generally done in your gynecologist’s office or clinic and comes in two forms: Pap smears and HPV tests.

Pap smears specifically test for abnormal cervical cells, essentially looking for cancer or precancerous cells. They are recommended for all women starting at age 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active, whichever comes first. You should continue getting tested every three years after that – even if you are no longer sexually active. Current guidelines in the US advise that testing after 65 is unnecessary if you have had normal Pap tests for several years, but you should speak to your doctor about your specific care.

The HPV test checks your cells for the presence of any form of HPV virus and are generally only recommended for women 30 years or older since HPV is so common in younger women. Most women have contracted and fought off the virus at that point and if you still have the virus your doctor will want to monitor you more closely. If you are under 30 and have had an abnormal Pap smear your doctor might prescribe an HPV test.

Other Ways to Prevent Cervical Cancer

  • Vaccination: One of the best ways you can prevent cervical cancer is vaccination. There are currently two types of vaccines available: one that protects against the HPV strains most likely to cause cancer and genital warts and one that just protects against those most likely to cause cancer. Both vaccines require 3 different shots over 6 months. It is recommended that you vaccinate girls between the ages of 9 and 26 years old.
  • Avoid Contact with HPV: Women with many sexual partners are more likely to contract HPV and therefore have a higher risk of cervical cancer.  Since there are often no symptoms of HPV it is harder to know if your partner is infected, so limiting your number of partners can help limit your risk. Just remember that transmission of HPV doesn’t require intercourse, just skin to skin contact with an infected area of another person’s body. Condoms may lower the risk of HPV, but the condom might not cover all of the infected parts of your partner’s body so it might not fully protect you.
  • Don’t Smoke: Smoking has been proven to increase your risk of precancerous and cancerous cells, so cutting out the cigarettes can help protect you from the disease.

Get Screened

Cervical cancer is preventable if precancerous cell changes are detected and treated early. The best and most effective way to avoid cervical cancer is to never allow your cells to become cancerous. Be proactive and schedule your screening test today.


Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.


Intiminas campaign whilebleeding

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do #WhileBleeding

We dig the old school yard tune, “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you!” The classic call-and-response musical number ends just how we’d assume – with a little girl facing a boy bully head-on, belting out “Yes I can, yes I can!” We’re bringing this sing-a-long back [...]

Read more »

Talk to your doctor about problems with leaks

It’s National Women and Girl’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

On March 10th, National Women and Girl’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the disease for women and girls. Though associated with cis gay men, HIV/AIDS affects women every day in the United States. What are the Risks? While large strides have been made, today about a quarter of a million women will [...]

Read more »

Happy International Women’s Day!

We at Intimina are no strangers to celebrating women all over the world, especially when it comes to making sure women have access to period protection, which can be a huge inhibitor when it comes to pursuing education in many parts of the world. And, International Women’s Day is one of our favorite holidays for [...]

Read more »

Get Your Sexy Sweat On! – The Beginner’s Guide to Kegels

Get Your Sexy Sweat On! – The Beginner’s Guide to Kegels

Are you ready to make that kitty sweat, girl? Kegel exercises are the latest sexual wellness trend that’s picking up speed for a dang good reason. In short, a Kegel involves contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles . It’ll feel like you’re squeezing your vagina together or trying to stop the flow of urine [...]

Read more »

What Even IS Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day? Glad You Asked!

You may not have heard of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you life! Taking place on February 12th – that’s right, just before Valentine’s Day – and this year’s theme center’s on ‘sexuall health at all ages.’ The emphasis on ‘all ages’ is twofold – for one, [...]

Read more »

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2019

It’s Cervical Health Awareness Week, so Let’s Get Aware!

Happy New Year, Intimina fans! If you’re thinking #NewYearNewMe, then why not start the year off by getting serious about your intimate health? In January is Cervical Health Awareness Week, and if that’s making you go, ‘Huh?’ then it’s time that you get hit with 5 hard truths about your cervix and making sure it’s [...]

Read more »

How Holiday Stress Impacts Your Sex Life

Bah Humbug! How Holiday Stress Impacts Your Sex Life

We all love the holidays – the songs, the food, the gifts and decorations…it’s like being a kid again! Except, as you become an adult, you realize that more and more of the above fall only happen when you have put in a whole lot of effort. Baking, arranging dinners, digging out decorations, braving the [...]

Read more »

INTIMINA Holiday Promotion

Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday – with 25% Off!

The promotion has ended. We at Intimina want to wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays the best way we know how – with a discount on all Intimina products! Whether you’re shopping for something to give one of your BFFs who is all about being environmentally-conscious, or you’re making good on your own New Year’s resolution to [...]

Read more »

Smoking woman's health

Smoke in Your Eyes: How Cigarettes Affect Intimate Health

Despite half a century of public anti-smoking efforts, tobacco remains the primary cause of preventable disease and death globally. Today, female smokers have caught up with their male counterparts as they face the same health consequences and some risks that tobacco has in store only for women. Usually, smoking habit starts in youth. In spite [...]

Read more »


What Makes Silicone Safe? A Look at What Exactly ‘Medical-Grade’ Means

Do you love your menstrual cup or personal massagers (or both!)? Do you also care about your health and safety? Assuming you answered ‘yes’ both these questions (because really, who wouldn’t?) then it’s time to strap in, because we’re about to talk about something super important that has to do with all of these: silicone. [...]

Read more »

  • Sign Up. It's Rewarding!
  • Join our newsletter list today.
  • Enjoy 10% off your first order.
  • *Email address
  •  Birthday
  • *Required field
      View our terms and conditions
INTIMINA uses cookies to improve our service to the customer. By continuing to browse our site, you agree to our use of cookies detailed here . ACCEPT