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Did you know that cervical cancer can be prevented? You can help make cervical cancer a thing of the past with regular screening and/or vaccination. The National Cervical Cancer Screening programme has been screening Singaporean women since 2004. In 2019, this programme has been enhanced to provide you with a more effective test at a highly subsidised rate. Keep reading to find out more.
Cervical cancer is the cancer of the neck of the womb, called the cervix. It is caused by a long-lasting Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a common virus and everyone will get it at some point in time. There are over 100 strains, but only around 13 strains can lead to cervical cancer. It can be spread through skin-to-skin contact such as sexual activity.
As HPV is a common virus, our bodies are able to clear the infection on its own. However, high-risk HPV strains such as HPV 16 and HPV 18 may cause a persistent infection, which can lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a slow-progressing condition that usually takes up to 15 years to develop. This is why you can protect yourself against cervical cancer with regular screening and vaccination, as it can be cured when detected early.
Find out more about the relationship between cervical cancer and HPV, the symptoms of cervical cancer, treatment options and more.
Get access to useful information about HPV and have your questions about the virus answered.
Cervical cancer can be prevented via HPV vaccination and regular cervical screening. When detected early, cervical cancer is more than 90% treatable in the early stages. Therefore, regular screening is encouraged as there are no signs or symptoms at the early stages of cervical cancer.
Reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer with a HPV vaccination.
Go for a Pap test.
The Pap test (Pap smear) looks for abnormal changes in the cervical cells and is recommended for women between 25-29 years old. At this age, most infections can be easily cleared by one's own body and doing a HPV test may lead to some unnecessary follow-up tests.
How is a Pap test done?
It is a fast and simple procedure where the doctor or nurse will gently insert an instrument into your vagina. A soft brush is then used to collect some cells from your cervix. These cells will be sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope.
How often should I get a Pap test?
If your Pap test is normal, then you would need to come back for the next cervical cancer screening in
3 years. However, if you experience any symptoms, then please consult your doctor immediately.
Women with abnormal results would have to seek guidance from your attending doctor.
You can get a Pap test done at a highly subsidised rate under our
Screen for Life - National Cervical Cancer Screening Programme, or at the Singapore Cancer society.
Pap test rates for 25 to 29-year olds
Go for a HPV test.
A HPV test will check if the cells collected from your cervix has the DNA (genetic material) of the high risk cancer-causing HPV strains (e.g. 16, 18). This is a more effective test compared to a Pap test. This is because while your cells may appear normal but with the presence of high risk HPV strains, the risk of your cells turning abnormal in the future is higher.
How is an HPV test done?
The cell samples for this test are collected in the same manner as the Pap test. However, your cells will be tested for the HPV genetic material (DNA) in the laboratory.
How often should I get an HPV test?
If your HPV test is normal, then you would need to come back for the next screening in
5 years. However, if you experience any symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.
Women with abnormal results are encouraged to seek guidance from your attending doctor.
You can get a HPV test done at a highly subsidised rate under the
Screen for Life – National Cervical Cancer Screening programme, or at the Singapore Cancer Society.
HPV test rates for 30-year-olds and above
Download our pamphlet about
Cervical Cancer Screening:
Download our booklet to find out more on the
Screen for Life programme:
There are usually no signs and symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer.
All women who have ever had sexual activity before are at risk. The risk increases if you:
Cervical cancer is a slow-progressing condition. It usually takes up to 15 years to develop cervical cancer. This is why regular screening is important because it can be cured when detected early.
Having a high risk HPV strain just puts you at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This does not mean that you will definitely develop cervical cancer. In some cases, your body will clear these high risk HPV strains on its own but sometimes it does not.
When your body is unable to clear the high risk HPV strains, a persistent infection will occur and that can lead to cervical cancer. This is why it is so important to follow-up with your gynaecologist so that he/she will be able to monitor your situation closely.
Yes. All women who have ever had sex sometime in their lives are at risk of cervical cancer.
Yes. This is because the HPV vaccine protects you from 70% to 90% of the common cancer-causing HPV strains (dependent on the type of HPV vaccine).
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