Myth 1: Only women who have had multiple sexual partners can get cervical cancer.
Fact: While multiple sexual partners may increase the risk of cervical cancer, anyone who is sexually active can get the disease, including women who have had only one sexual partner.
Myth 2: Cervical cancer is always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Fact: Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, but not all. Other factors that can contribute to the development of cervical cancer include smoking, having a weakened immune system, and a family history of the disease.
Myth 3: Only women in their 40s and 50s get cervical cancer.
Fact: While the risk of cervical cancer does increase with age, it can affect women of any age, including those in their 20s and 30s.
Myth 4: A Pap smear is a test for cervical cancer.
Fact: A Pap smear is a test that can detect abnormal cells in the cervix, which may indicate the presence of cervical cancer. However, it is not a diagnostic test for cervical cancer.
Myth 5: If you have abnormal cells on a Pap smear, you definitely have cervical cancer.
Fact: Abnormal cells on a Pap smear may indicate the presence of cervical cancer, but they may also be caused by other conditions, such as inflammation or infection.
Myth 6: You only need to get a Pap smear if you have symptoms.
Fact: Many women with cervical cancer have no symptoms at all, which is why regular Pap smears are so important. It is recommended that women begin getting Pap smears at age 21 and continue getting them every 3-5 years.
Myth 7: You can’t get cervical cancer if you’ve had a hysterectomy.
Fact: If you’ve had a hysterectomy that included the removal of the cervix, you are no longer at risk for cervical cancer. However, if your cervix was not removed during the hysterectomy, you are still at risk.
Myth 8: Cervical cancer always causes symptoms.
Fact: In the early stages of cervical cancer, there may be no symptoms at all. Later on, symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and pain during sex.
Myth 9: You can’t get cervical cancer if you’ve been vaccinated against HPV.
Fact: While the HPV vaccine can greatly reduce the risk of cervical cancer, it is not 100% effective. It is still possible to develop cervical cancer even if you have been vaccinated.
Myth 10: If you have a family history of cervical cancer, you are guaranteed to get the disease.
Fact: Having a family history of cervical cancer does increase your risk of developing the disease, but it does not mean you will definitely get it.
Myth 11: Cervical cancer is a rare disease.
Fact: Cervical cancer is not as common as some other types of cancer, but it is still relatively common, with around 13,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States.
Myth 12: Cervical cancer is always fatal.
Fact: While cervical cancer can be a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, it is not always fatal. With early detection and treatment, the survival rate for cervical cancer is quite high.
Myth 13: HPV only affects women.
Fact: HPV can affect both men and women, and it can lead to several types of cancer, including cervical cancer.
Myth 14: Only women who have had vaginal sex can get cervical cancer.
Fact: Cervical cancer can be caused by HPV transmitted through any type of sexual contact, including oral and anal sex.