Health

5 Simple Ways to Help Prevent Cervical Cancer

You should be getting pap smears after menopause.

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Great news: The number of cervical cancer cases has been dropping steadily over the last 10 years — and it’s virtually 100 percent curable when caught early. To protect yourself now, experts recommend these tips.

Boost your immunity with tomatoes.

Getting enough of the immunity-revving antioxidant lycopene can cut your cervical cancer risk 80 percent. “And eating three cups of tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, or other cooked tomato products weekly is all it takes to keep your levels in the protective range,” says David Katz, M.D., author of Disease-Proof ($10.97, Amazon).

Take a protective “broccoli” supplement.

Women who took 200 milligrams daily of a compound called indole-3-carbinol, or I3C (also found in small amounts in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage), cut their risk of cervical cancer in half, a Louisiana State University study found.

And here’s the kicker: Some of the women in the study already had precancerous growths on their cervix! I3C encourages cervical cells to grow normally while forcing suspicious cells to age quickly and die.

Continue to get PAP smears after menopause.

Wondering if you still need to regularly get PAP tests after menopause hits? Yes! A just-published British study proves that continuing to get them every three years — until at least age 65 — slashes your lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer six-fold. Regular PAPs help catch postmenopausal cervical changes long before they can cause trouble.

Drink pom juice.

Drinking four ounces of pomegranate juice — or eating one cup of grapes, strawberries, or blueberries — daily cuts your risk of ever getting cervical cancer 31 percent. Compounds in these fruits help stop abnormal growths from spreading, making it easier for your immune system to find and destroy them quickly, according to a report in the Journal of Medical Plants Research.

Consider getting an IUD.

If you’re currently using birth control, an IUD could cut your risk of cervical cancer 45 percent, according to a review of 26 clinical trials. IUDs trigger a very low level of inflammation that keeps your immune system on high alert, prompting it to zap abnormal cervical cells before they can turn cancerous.

Leery about IUDs? Don’t be! University of California research proves that today’s IUDs are among the safest, most effective contraception methods available.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.

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