Cervical cancer is a disease that can affect any woman and is the fourth most common type of cancer in females. Approximately 300,000 women in the United States are diagnosed each year with precancers of the cervix that need treatment. Women over the age of 30 are most likely to develop the condition.
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and considering the ongoing situation of COVID, telemedicine services, and spreading awareness online regarding cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine is a great way to help people guide about this disease.
This article will explain everything you should know about Cervical Cancer, including its symptoms, risk factors, and prevention. So, let’s begin!
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer refers to cancer that begins in the cervix. The vagina (birth canal) and the upper section of the uterus are connected by the cervix. When a female is pregnant, her uterus (or womb) serves as the place where the baby grows.
The cells that line the cervix — the lower portion of the uterus — are the origin of cervical cancer (womb). The cervix links the uterus’s body (the top portion of pregnancy) to the vaginal canal. It is a tube-like structure (birth canal). When body cells begin to multiply unchecked, cancer begins to take hold and spread throughout the body.
Risk Factors of Developing Cervical Cancer
The most common cause of cervical cancer is infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). When two people come into touch with each other’s skin, the HPV virus can be passed from one to the other. It is possible to be infected with high-risk HPV varieties and not be aware of it. Few women will develop cervical cancer even though most sexually active adults carry HPV at some time in their lives.
Other risk factors also include:
- Weak immune system: Your body will not fight cancer if you have a weak immune system.
- Smoking: There are several harmful chemicals in Tobacco that may cause cancer.
- Sexual History: Having multiple sexual partners, having a sexual partner(s) with a higher risk of HPV infection, and having unprotected sex.
- Family History: If there are women in your family who have cervical cancer, you are at higher risk.
- Oral Contraceptives: Cervical cancer risk is increased by long-term use of oral contraceptives. Your overall risk can be reduced by stopping the medication.
- Eating Habits: Eating a diet that is deficient in vitamins and minerals. Cervical cancer risk may be raised by a diet deficient in vegetables, fruits, and antioxidants like vitamin C.
- Financial Status: Cervical cancer screenings are sometimes unavailable to women in low-income homes because of resources.
- Multiple Births: A woman who is pregnant with more than one child. Cervical cancer is more common in women who have delivered a baby three or more times.
- Chlamydia: Having chlamydia or another sexually transmitted infection. Chlamydia, an STD, has been linked to an increased risk of developing cervical cancer in several studies.
You will not develop cervical cancer if you have one or perhaps more risk factors for the disease. However, it does mean that you will face a greater danger than someone who has no risk factors. Cervical cancer risk factors can exist without resulting in the disease.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Symptoms of cervical cancer may not begin to appear until the disease has progressed to other parts of the body. Some of the more prevalent signs and symptoms include:
- Vaginal bleeding that isn’t typical, such as that which occurs: during periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual cycles are considered abnormal.
- The amount of vaginal discharge has increased.
- The pain of the genitals can also occur after having intercourse.
You should see a doctor immediately via face-to-face sessions or telemedicine services if any of the symptoms mentioned above are present in you. Cervical cancer may not be the source of these symptoms, but it may result from a more serious medical problem that requires care.
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer
One of the greatest strategies to protect yourself against cervical cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV. According to the CDC, over 90% of HPV-caused malignancies may be prevented with vaccination.
HPV vaccination, namely Gardasil-9, protects against nine distinct forms of HPV, especially types 16 and 18. The HPV vaccination is given in two or three doses, depending on your age.
The following individuals should receive an HPV vaccine, according to the CDC:
- Every boy and girl between 11 and 12.
- Those between the ages of 14 and 26 who have not been vaccinated or have not completed the full vaccination series.
- Adults between the ages of 27 and 45 who have talked to their doctor about their HPV risk
Other than that, you can also prevent yourself against cervical cancer by avoiding unprotected sex, going for regular or periodic STI screenings, having a healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
Now that you are aware of the main, we hope you will steer clear of the disease. However, if you notice any of the above symptoms, contact Call4Health right away so that we can help you in this matter as soon and as much as possible!