Cervical Health 101: Pap Smears, HPV, and Cervical Cancer

 

Jan. 18, 2024 -- Do you know the difference between a pap smear and a pelvic exam? Do you know where the cervix is located and what it does? Most importantly, what about the connection between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer? According to some experts, almost 100% of sexually active people will contract HPV at some point in their lifetime and more than 14,000 women in the US are diagnosed with HPV related invasive cervical cancer every year. For cervical cancer awareness month, we spoke with Staci Tanouye, MD, a board-certified OB/GYN to answer common questions about cervical health. We discuss the difference between pelvic exams and pap smears, how often to schedule them, common facts and misconceptions about HPV, and why regular cervical cancer screenings are so important throughout the lifespan.