Each year more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. It's important for women to be aware of the issues relating to cervical cancer and human papilloma virus (HPV), as well as the importance of preventive screenings. Page ContentMichael Leung, M.D., a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology who cares for patients at our Woman’s Center and Pearland Clinic, explains why Pap tests are so important to woman’s cervical health.“Cervical cancer is more curable when found and treated early,” Dr. Leung says. “Pap tests are helpful in detecting precancerous conditions of the cervix.”Dr. Leung encourages women to begin having Pap screenings three years after they start having sexual intercourse or when they reach 21 years of age, whichever comes first.“These tests are simple, in-office procedures conducted during a regular well-woman exam and should be an essential part of a woman’s healthcare routine,” said Dr.Leung. “Women can help reduce their risk of cervical cancer by having regular Pap tests.”Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus into the vagina, and is usually caused by HPV. Affecting millions of people each year, the virus is a sexually transmitted infection that may cause cervical cells to become precancerous, which may then progress to cancer.“Regular screenings and vaccinations are highly recommended,” Dr. Leung says. “Clinical studies show that the HPV vaccine is extremely effective in helping to prevent HPV infections among females between the ages of 11 and 26.“Spreading the message about the importance of regular gynecological exams, and getting the HPV vaccine for girls and young women, is a good step in battling cervical cancer among women,” concludes Dr. Leung.