What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

13 Jul

Cervical cancer among women is quite common. Fortunately, cervical cancer can be treated successfully and even prevented with the right protection and detection methods. However, the public needs to be educated properly about the disease to get the right diagnosis and treatment as early as possible.

Who Can Get Cervical Cancer?
Like almost any type of cancer, anyone is at risk of getting cervical cancer, however, there are factors that will increase a person’s chances of contracting it. One such factor is getting infected by human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be spread through intimate contact with an infected partner, skin contact with an infected person, and contact with warts caused by HPV. Although most HPV types are not necessarily deadly, some of these can lead to cancer.

A person is also at risk of getting cervical cancer if he/she is a smoker, has a weak immune system, is overweight or obese, has a low diet of fruits and vegetables leading to poor nutrition, has had a history of or has an untreated chlamydia infection, or has family members with a history of cancer. An active sexual life increases the risk because the person is also exposed to different sexually-transmitted infections, which can weaken the immune system and serve as entry point for bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Like most cancers, cervical cancer is usually asymptomatic during the first stages, however, it will show signs when the disease is at its advanced stage; such as pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, unusual discharges (usually watery or bloody with foul odor), and bleeding after intercourse and/or between periods or after menopause.

There are two types of cervical cancer will require different treatments; these are; adenocarcinoma or a type of cervical cancer that starts at the glandular cells in the cervical anal; and squamous cell carcinoma or a cervical cancer that starts at the squamous cells that line the outer part of the cervix. The latter is the more common between the two among cervical cancer patients in Singapore.

How is Cervical Cancer Prevented?
Cervical cancer can be prevented with the right information about how it is transmitted. If you have an active sexual life, you can perform preventive steps to avoid getting this type of cancer. One is by having routine Pap tests, the easiest way to detect cancer in the cervix. A woman aged 21 is recommended to undergo this type of test every few years, or more frequently if sexually-active.

You will also be encouraged to practice safe intercourse to prevent STD and to get vaccinated if you’re aged between 9 to 26 years. Doctors in Singapore recommend the vaccine to young girls before they become sexually-active.

Survival rates of patients with cervical cancer in Singapore has increased over the years according to the Ministry of Health, through education of the public about the illness. Cervical cancer can also be treated successfully, especially if the condition is diagnosed early.

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