Florida International University has provided some expert information on what everyone needs to know in an effort to prevent cervical cancer.
"Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a type of HPV (human papillomavirus), a very common infection that can be passed from one person to another during sex," says Dr. Juana Montero, a gynecologist at FIU Health and Student Health Services.
It's estimated that about 79 million Americans have HPV but many don't even know they're infected, as most people never develop symptoms.
In most cases the infections go away by themselves, but when they don't they can become more serious, causing several types of cancers in both men and women including cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, throat, tongue, tonsils and penis.
"Fortunately, we have vaccines against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts," Montero says, with the CDC recommending that preteen girls and boys get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.