The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) recommends the following screening strategies for cervical cancer:
- Pap smear (conventional or liquid-based): A Pap smear is a procedure that involves collecting cells from the cervix and examining them for any abnormalities. This test is recommended for women starting at age 21 or 3 years after the onset of sexual activity, whichever comes first, and should be repeated every 3-5 years until the age of 65.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing: HPV testing can detect the presence of the virus that can cause cervical cancer. This test can be performed alone or in combination with a Pap smear.
- Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA): VIA involves applying a mild solution of acetic acid to the cervix and inspecting it for any changes that may indicate precancerous or cancerous growths.
- HPV vaccine: The HPV vaccine can prevent infection with the types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys at age 11-12, but can be given starting at age 9.
It is important to note that these are general guidelines and individual screening plans may vary based on a woman’s health history and risk factors. Women should discuss their specific screening needs with their healthcare provider.