Cancer is a disease in which tissue growth occurs that is not normal. When the cancer starts growing in the neck of the uterus (cervix) it is referred to as cervical cancer.
The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus, connects the vagina (birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus (womb).
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer in women is most easily prevented by screening examination for routine and follow-up examinations. The disease is also very good recovery rate when found and treated early.
Who has the risk to be affected by Cervical Cancer?
All women have a risk for developing cancer of the cervix. The disease is most often about women aged over 30 years. The main cause of cervical cancer is infection with a virus called Human Papiloma Vitus (HPV).
HPV is a virus that is mostly spread through sexual contact. At least half of sexually active people will have experienced HPV infection in their lifetime, but only a handful of women who experience symptoms of the infection.
What are the symptoms experienced by the patients of Cervical Cancer?
At an early stage, cervical cancer may be completely asymptomatic. At an advanced stage, the clinical symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, contact bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal discharge.
Is there any test to detect precancerous lesions early?
There are tests that can detect pre cancerous lesions early, which include :
- Pap Smear test looks for precancerous lesions in order to detect any histological abnormality of the cervical cells. The test is recommended for women aged 21 to 65 years old. If the result is found to be normal, the test may be repeated 2 – 3 years later.
- The HPV test is aimed at looking for HPV, the virus which can lead to precancerous cell changes and cervical cancer. It can be done in conjunction with Pap Smear test.
On the other hand, the examination of Pap smears can be suspended if :
- Patient is older than 65 years old and have normal pap Smear test after several years.
- Patient had been experienced Total Histerectomy upon non-cancer condition i.e. fibroid.
What raises a woman's chances of developing cancer of the Cervix?
The main cause of cervical cancer is infection by HPV, which is transmitted to others through sexual contact. HPV infection could potentially be greater if a person start having sexual intercourse at an early age or if a person has multiple partners. However, every woman is actually at risk for HPV.
There are many types of HPV. Types of HPV which can lead to cervical cancer are termed as high risk groups of HPV. There are also predisposing factors which include :
- infected for HIV (the main virus causing AIDS) or other condition that weaken your immune system
- consumption of contraception pills for long period (5 years or beyond)
- After delivery of the 3rd child or beyond
How does Cervical Cancer be prevented?
- Get the HPV vaccination, because this vaccination protects the body against the type of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer, vulvar and vaginal. These vaccines can be given to a woman started at the age of 9
- Do pap smear test or HPV screening on regular basis
- Do not smoke
- Use condom during high-risk sexual intercourse
Better Act Now!
Have you check your self for Pap Smear? Or have you got HPV Vaccination shot? Just call your nearest or preferred healthcare service provider for more information and inquiries regarding what is the proper health assessment package for female, or any HPV vaccination promotion available.
Reference: website of POGI Jaya (Indonesian Obstetrican-Gynaecologist Association, Jakarta Branch)