Cervical and vaginal cancers are very serious conditions that can be difficult to catch. In order to treat cervical cancers effectively, women should receive regular screenings – when caught early, doctors can treat cervical cancer and dramatically increase the patient’s chances of recovery.

What are Cervical and Vaginal Cancer? 

Cervical and vaginal cancers are both cancers that affect women. Cervical cancer is much more common and happens when cancerous cells start to grow in the lower part of the uterus. Cervical cancer is often linked to HPV or human papillomavirus. HPV is a very common STI that often doesn’t show any symptoms, but can lead to cervical cancer over time when left unaddressed.

Vaginal cancer is much less common and happens when cancerous cells form in the vagina or birth canal. It is very rare for vaginal cancer to develop on its own. Typically vaginal cancer happens when the cancerous cells spread there from another part of the body.

What are the Risk Factors for Cervical and Vaginal Cancer? 

There are a number of factors that put you at a higher risk for developing cervical cancer. The biggest risk factor is having many sexual partners, as this increases your chances of contracting HPV. Contracting other STIs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, or syphilis can also increase your chances of contracting HPV.

Those who smoke are also at a much higher risk of developing cervical cancer or any other type of cancer. You’ll also be at a higher risk if you have a chronic health condition that weakens your immune system. A weakened immune system will make you more vulnerable to HPV and other conditions that put you at risk for cancer.

While you can’t entirely prevent cervical cancer, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing it. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to quit. When you have sex, use a condom to reduce your risk of contracting HPV. You should also make sure to have routine health screenings so you can catch problems as they arise.

Medicare and Cancer Screenings

Medicare Part B covers bi-yearly Pap tests and pelvic exams to screen for cervical and vaginal cancer. If you are at high risk for cervical cancer, they will cover these exams every year. As long as your doctor accepts assignment, you won’t pay anything for these lab tests. If you have Medicare Advantage, you will likely also receive coverage for cancer screenings – check your plan for more details.

Cervical cancer can be deadly if it isn’t treated right away, so it’s important to get screenings regularly and catch it early. If you’re interested in learning more about your Medicare options, contact Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents. Fill out this form or give us a call today to see how we can help.