HPV & Cervical Cancer
October 29, 2023Uncategorized
What is a Pap smear?
The pap smear is a screening test, a swab done at the office, that is taken from the cervix (lower part of the uterus projecting into the vagina ) and used to detect pre-cancerous and cancerous changes in the cervix.
Who should do it?
Every lady who is older than 21 and is sexually active should do the smear yearly.
The most common cause of cancer of the cervix is a virus called Human papillomavirus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted and is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD).
If the pap smear is accompanied by HPV testing, then repeating both every three years is enough if the results come clean.
However, the frequency with which to repeat the pap smear depends on the lady’s sexual habits, cancer history, and immunity, among others.
Is there a way to prevent or reduce the risk of getting HPV?
There are many strains of HPV. Some are of a high-risk nature and can cause changes in the cervix that are likely to progress into cancer of the cervix over time, and low-risk strains can cause the appearance of warts in the genital area.
An HPV vaccine is available that can protect against some of the most aggressive high-risk HPV strains. The earlier this vaccine is taken ( before starting sexual activity), the better.
What are the signs of cervical cancer?
*Bloody vaginal discharge
*Persistent copious smelly vaginal discharge.
* Post-coital spotting
*Heavier periods than usual
* Postmenopausal bleeding
and the worst is :
*NO SIGN AT ALL..: which gives time for cervical changes to progress into cancer, undetected if the pap smear is not done routinely.
Can Cervical cancer be cured?
Early detection can help treat cervical cancer in its early stages, and if the changes are detected before becoming cancerous, then treatment can preserve future fertility.
Two most essential steps towards avoiding advanced-stage Cervical cancer:
1. Taking the HPV vaccine.
2. Doing regular Pap smears.