Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and a time to remind people to take preventative measures against cervical cancer.

“The main source of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus. It is a virus. It’s transmitted sexually through skin-to-skin contact and so HPV can be prevented by getting HPV vaccine series as young people, but it also can be prevented by screening.”

“Screening for cervical cancer is clearly just a pap smear. It is a vaginal exam that’s done here in the office. Easily obtained and is not needed until age 21.”

The other main preventative measure is the HPV vaccine series.

“The vaccine series is indicated in women and men and boys and girls ages 9 to 45.”

Cervical cancer can affect women of a variety of ages, making regular check-ups so important

“We usually frequently diagnose women with cervical cancer between the ages of 35 and 45. What I found interesting was that about 20% of cervical cancer diagnoses are actually up to the age of 65.”

Additionally, there are not many warning signs when it comes to cervical cancer.

“Signs and symptoms really don’t exist until the cancer is large enough to affect nearby tissues, so that’s when you would likely see some abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding, abnormal vaginal bleeding. And so, you would want to see your physician if you had any of those symptoms.”

Health professionals say cervical cancer is serious but can be prevented. The world health organization says cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women globally.