Cervical Cancer has taken the lives of numerous women around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women. In 2018, cervical cancer had approximately 570,000 new cases. The mortality rate is staggering – 90% of patients in low and middle income countries die.
According to the Philippines’ Department of Health, cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer amongst women with roughly 7,277 new cases with 3,807 deaths expected to occur each year.
The Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) is the primary cause of Cervical cancer.
HPV is commonly acquired through sexual intercourse, but in some rare instances, HPV can also be acquired through other means.
Most patients with cervical patients have had some, or a combination of the following:
• Multiple sexual partners
• Sexual partner/s (regular or casual) who themselves had several sexual partners
• Sexual partner/s who is infected with human papilloma virus
• First sexual intercourse at a very early age, possibly 15 or 16 years old
Watch out for these symptoms• Irregular, intermenstrual (between periods) or abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
• Back, leg or pelvic pain
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Vaginal discomfort or odorous discharge
• A single swollen leg
How do we prevent Cervical Cancer?
• See your Doctor. The first step is to have a regular check-up with your gynecologist who will most likely do a Papanicolaou smear or more commonly known as Pap smear/ test. A Pap smear is a procedure to test for cervical cancer. It involves the collection of cells from your cervix for analysis. Early detection is the key to survival. Most of the medical organizations suggest that women should have a Pap smear at the age of 21.
• Vaccine. Getting an HPV vaccine is another option for cervical cancer prevention. Vaccine is most effective before a girl becomes sexually active
• Practice safe sex. It’s best if you are always protected. Condoms are proven effective in reducing the risk of cervical cancer.
• Don’t smoke. Smoking has never been good for anyone’s health. Smoking and HPV predisposes a woman to cervical cancer.
When in doubt, it is still best to consult your doctor. Always remember prevention is better than cure. For any health concerns, you may call Medgate doctors 24/7, even on holidays.