Regular screening, healthy lifestyle keys in preventing cervical cancer


January is nationally recognized as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. It is important for women to know what they can to do to lower their risk of having cervical cancer. Getting regular screening and practicing a healthy lifestyle changes greatly reduces a woman’s chance of getting cervical cancer.

A Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for cancers and pre-cancers in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina). Pre-cancers are cell changes that might become cancer if they are not treated right away. Women between the ages of 21 and 29, should get a Pap test every 3 years, while women between the ages of 30 and 64 should get a combined Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every 3-5 years. Women with abnormal test results should follow the recommendations of their provider for treatment and follow up. Women 65 years and older may not need to have Pap Tests done if all their previous test have been normal. It is important for a woman to talk to her provider about getting a Pap test more often if she has a weakened immune system because of an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or steroid use; if she has had treatment for abnormal Pap results or cervical cancer in the past; or if she is HIV-positive.

Information on this page is provided by,, CNMI Cancer Registry Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the Breast and Cervical Screening Program. (PR)

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