Cervical cancer usually occurs as a result of being infected with a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is very common. There are other less frequent causes, which can include pregnancy, not having a diet that meets your nutritional needs, and smoking. 

In the early stages, cervical cancer can have few symptoms, with many having no idea that they have it at all. Luckily, we have developed ways of screening for cervical cancer that can detect it soon after onset, so you can seek treatment before it becomes more serious. Here are three ways that you can lower your risk of developing cervical cancer, as well as have it detected early. 

1. Use Protection

Given that almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, you can significantly lower your risk by making sure that you always use protection when you have sex. 

In addition, ask your gynecologist about how you can get vaccinated for HPV. It's worth noting that HPV can lead to several other types of cancer, so you are decreasing your cancer risk across the board by getting vaccinated.

2. Get Screened Regularly

Pap smears are a screening method that allows gynecologists to take a look at the cells from your cervix so that they can pick up on any anomalies before they progress.

This is also a good opportunity for your doctor to ask you questions about any odd symptoms you may be experiencing. Even if you think you know what is causing some of your symptoms, such as irregular periods, it's still a good idea to bring them up, as many conditions can have similar symptoms.

3. Reduce Controllable Risk Factors

There are some risk factors, such as having a poor diet, that are within your control. If you are eating a diet with an abundance of processed foods, which can be inflammatory, you might want to consider meeting with a nutritionist so you can incorporate healthier food options into your diet.  And, of course, following a healthy lifestyle in general can help your immune system to stay strong and lower your risk of cervical cancer over the long run.

Cervical cancer can be stealthy, but you can get ahead of it if you keep these tips in mind. If you are concerned about cervical cancer, and would like to learn more about how you can reduce your risk, make an appointment with your gynecologist today. 

Contact a local gynecology service to learn more.