Five cervical cancer facts that you did not know

In most cases, this cancer takes time to spread, so it is advisable to go for regular PAP screen tests to arrest this. PAP screening test helps to diagnose the precancerous cells that may exist in the body

Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix, connected to uterus and vagina. In advanced stages, these cancerous cells can affect the other body parts too, vagina, rectum, lungs, liver. In most cases, this cancer takes time to spread, so it is advisable to go for regular PAP screen tests to arrest this. PAP screening test helps to diagnose the precancerous cells that may exist in the body. In the PAP test, cervical cells are scraped to be examined for cancerous cells. A recent paper published in the Journal of Global Oncology cites the increasing cancer burden in the country. Therefore, preventive measures should be taken to arrest cancer.

Below are five facts of cervical cancer:

Midlife Crisis!

Most of the cases screened worldwide seems to suggest that Cervical cancer tends to occur during the middle age of a woman. Most frequent diagnoses of cervical cancer are made in women between the ages of 35 and 44. It rarely affects women under age 20, and about 15-20% of diagnoses are made in women older than 65. Most of the cases are seen in women who are not regularly screened. And therefore, screening by co-testing is recommended strongly from the age of 30. Co-testing is the test that is done for screening HPV virus along with a PAP test. A co-test is more effective in screening cervical cancer.

Cervical Cancer is a sexually transmitted disease 

Sexual intercourse even if it is with a single partner, puts one at a risk for cervical cancer. The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in about 99% of cervical cancers. There are many types of HPV; most of which are harmless and do not cause cancer. HPV-16 and HPV-18 infections are considered high-risk types and can cause cancer. 

There are no symptoms to early stage cervical cancer

 The thing about symptoms is it usually starts only when the cancer has progressed. Therefore, the best bet with cervical cancer is regular screening that can catch precancerous cell changes early and prevent the development of cervical cancer. Symptoms of advanced stage of cancer could be bleeding between menstrual cycles, pain during urination and unilateral pain in the legs. 

HPV Vaccination needs to start earlier than you think 

The current CDC recommendations for HPV vaccination are as follows. The vaccination is recommended typically between the age 11 or 12 years; vaccination can also be started as early as age 9 years. Every woman should take HPV vaccination. Those who have not been vaccinated earlier can do so till 26 years. Girls before 15 years only need 2 doses of the vaccine. Girls who have started their vaccination at 15 or after it, need three doses to gain immunity. 

Smokers at increased risk 

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the risk of cervical cancer increased in women who smoked and in women who were exposed to second-hand smoke. Cancer can even occur to women who have more than three hours of exposure to smoking around them. It has been found out by scientific research that such women were at 3.4 times at the risk of cervical cancer. 

Let’s battle cervical cancer together by just screening our precious women from a completely preventable cancer where the cause and pathogenesis are well known and actionable with timely intervention.

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