Amy Rodriguez is a cervical cancer survivor who shares her story with people to encourage awareness about screening. After she was diagnosed and began treatment, Amy became an advocate for cervical health, encouraging women to talk with their doctors about cervical cancer screening and which tests are right for them based on current recommended guidelines (see more below).
A Cervical Cancer Survivor
Through regular Pap tests, Amy was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma – a type of cancer that develops from the mucus-producing glandular cells of the endocervix.1 About 10-20% of cervical cancers are adenocarcinoma, and most other cases are squamous cell carcinoma.2 While a Pap test alone is recommended for women ages 21-29, screening with a Pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) test together (co-testing) provides the best possible protection against cervical cancer for women ages 30 to 65, and guidelines as well as data support this.3-5
Adding HPV Testing to Pap Testing Can Make a Difference
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).6 This virus is linked with 99% of cervical cancers.7 HPV testing detects this virus in a patient’s RNA (genetic buildup). The goal of HPV testing is to determine which women have high-risk HPV and are most at risk for cervical cancer. Combined with Pap testing – which detects cervical disease on the cervix – HPV testing helps doctors identify patients at risk and take steps to protect them.
Know the Guidelines and Communicate with Your Provider
Amy is a cervical cancer survivor who wants to help other women receive HPV testing along with Pap testing when appropriate. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, cervical disease screening should include:
- For women 21-29 years old, a Pap test every 3 years.8
- For women 30-65 years old, a Pap test with an HPV test (also known as co-testing) every 5 years.8
If you are unsure if you have received the right screening for your age group, ask your healthcare provider. With regular screening, cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Thanks to cervical cancer survivors like Amy Rodriguez and everyone who talks about testing, we can continue to reduce the rates of cervical cancer globally.