ALL THINGS CERVICAL CANCER
According to some statistics, about 260,000 women from low and middle-income countries die annually due to cervical cancer. A lot has been done about this disease that is peculiar to women but there’s not been so much awareness around the topic.
In this regard, Cervical cancer awareness week is a week used to spread awareness of this deadly plague that affects women both rich and poor.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix; the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The cervix is a hollow cylinder that connects the lower part of a woman’s uterus to her vagina. Most cervical cancers begin in cells on the surface of the cervix.
What are the symptoms of Cervical cancer?
For most women, regular symptoms of cervical cancer are usually scarce or easily unnoticeable. Very clear symptoms of this disease usually appear at the later stages, so many women don’t realize they have the disease early on.
Sometimes women could easily have mistaken these symptoms for regular conditions like menstrual periods as cervical cancer causes bleeding, which is regular for many women. Cervical cancer symptoms can also be mistaken for urinary tract infections.
In many instances, these symptoms do not cause or come with other signs, making screening very important for women.
Here are typical symptoms of cervical cancer:
- Unusual pain in the pelvis.
- Constant Urination.
- Sharp pain during urination
- Vagina discharge that looks or smells different
- Unusual bleeding, such as in between periods, after sex, or after menopause.
Women who suspect any or all of these symptoms should not ignore them and seek a medical evaluation. Women that are age 21 and older should also go for regular checkups.
What causes Cervical Cancer?
According to Healthline, Most cervical cancer cases are caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), the same virus that causes genital warts (A small bump on the genitals).
There are varieties of HPV, only two common strains of the virus cause cervical cancer; HPV 16 and HPV 18. HPV 16 and HPV 18. Roughly 70 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV 16 and HPV 18. According to WebMD.com, 14 million new HPV infections are detected each year. Some of these infections clear but most times they persist and if infections persist, they can lead to serious heal
How can cervical cancer be treated?
Cervical cancer can be cured if detected early. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. This vaccine is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years. The vaccine is also recommended for everyone through age 26 years if they are not vaccinated already.
Other treatments of cervical cancer include;
Surgery can be performed on a victim’s body to remove as of cancer as possible. This will involve removing the part of the cervix that has been affected. In cases where the cancer cells have gained widespread, surgery may involve removing the cervix and organs in the pelvis.
The radiation process involves killing cancer cells using high-energy X-ray beams. This process could be performed within or outside the body. It can be performed within the body by using metal tubes placed in the uterus or vagina. It can also be performed outside the body through a machine.
This process involves using drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. This treatment is given for some time of which afterward your body is given a period of time to recover before another one as the treatment is taken in cycles.
This process is a new age invention, the process is different from that of chemotherapy. The process involves using a drug called Bevacizumab (Avastin) to block the growth of new blood cells vessels that aid cancer growth. Using this process, doctors can treat and prevent one from precancerous cells in one’s cervix.
Cervical Cancer Test
It has been recommended by the U.S Preventive Services Task Force (UPSTF) that women from ages 21 to 29 should undergo a pap smear test once every three years. Women from ages 30 to 65 are also advised to get a pap smear once every three years, get a high-risk HPV (hrHPV) test every five years, or get a Pap smear plus hrHPV test every five years.
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a test that involves doctors collecting a sample of cells from the surface of one’s cervix. These cells are then taken to the lab to test for precancerous or cancerous changes.
If these changes are detected, the doctor may suggest a colposcopy, a procedure for examining the cervix. During this test, the doctor might take a biopsy, which is a sample of cervical cells.
Do you need a Pap smear test, you can log on to http://www.healthstart.africa to get started with an affordable plan that covers costs for these tests and even treatments.