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Insights on Cervical Cancer Control & Prevention
The cervix is a female anatomical structure located in the lower part of the uterus. Cervical cancer results from abnormal cell growth in the cervix. Early detection through Pap examinations and other tests are essential in cancer control and prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes a high prevalence of cervical cancer in Western countries related to lack of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and absence of screening. Fortunately proactive measures can be implemented for health promotion and cancer prevention.
Cervical Cancer Control & Prevention Tips:
1. Adherence to Pap Examinations. Pap tests analyze cervical cells determining abnormal cellular growth and presence of precancerous cells. The CDC recommends Pap exams for women 21-65 years old, attributing this test as one of the most reliable in determining cervical cancer. Depending on your health needs and family history of cancer your practitioner may recommend annual or more frequent Pap examinations.
2. Testing for Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV testing can be done in conjunction with a Pap examination. The CDC shares insight on HPV and cervical cancer, “About 10% of women with high-risk HPV on their cervix will develop long-lasting HPV infections that put them at risk for cervical cancer.” The CDC also documents HPV as the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.
3. Report Abnormal Signs and Symptoms. Early stages of cervical cancer or precancerous cells do not typically present abnormal symptoms. With advanced cervical cancer clients can experience vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharges, and painful intercourse. Be sure to report abnormal signs or symptoms or changes in health to your practitioner.
4. Don’t Smoke. The American Cancer Society (ACS) comments how women who smoke are twice as likely to get cervical cancer than women who don’t smoke. The ACS goes on to share the influence of tobacco smoking on cervical cancer stating, “Researchers believe that these substances damage the DNA of cervix cells, and may contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Smoking also makes the immune system less effective in fighting HPV infections.”
5. Get Vaccinated. The HPV vaccine builds the body’s immunity to fight the virus before exposed to the viral infection. The NIH – National Cancer Institute comments on the benefits of HPV vaccination, “HPV vaccines are highly effective in preventing infection with the types of HPV they target when given before initial exposure to the virus—which means before individuals begin to engage in sexual activity.”
6. Practice Safe Sex. The CDC recommends limiting sexual partners and using condoms during intercourse for safe sex precautions.
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.