What Is Cervical Cancer? Screening, Prevention, and Treatment

What Is Cervical Cancer? Screening, Prevention, and Treatment (Image Source: Shutterstock)

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that attacks the cervix, which is the lower part of a woman’s womb or uterus. It is caused by strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted through sexual contact. This is a form of cancer that develops slowly over time as abnormal cells grow on the cervix. It can take many years to manifest.

Cervical Cancer Was One Of The Leading Causes of Death In Women (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Every year, January is designated as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. The overriding objective of the initiative is to encourage women to be more attentive to their health in general and to screen for cervical cancer specifically. Early detection and vaccination are effective for the treatment of cervical cancer, so awareness and regular testing are vital for prevention.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (Image Source: Shutterstock)
  • Collect data, facts, and statistics about cervical cancer and distribute them in your community to get the word out.
  • Liaise with your local healthcare provider to organize a screening camp at your place of work, school, or club.
  • Get involved in online events taking place throughout the month.

Cervical Cancer Screening

For hundreds of years, cervical cancer was one of the leading causes of death in women around the world. From the 1950s onward, however serious efforts have been made in the screening and treatment of cervical cancer. In the 1940s, Dr. Georgios Nikolaou Papanikolaou developed what became known as the Pap smear.

Cervical Cancer, HPV, and Pap Test, Animation │ Alila Medical Media
  • the Pap test
  • the HPV test

Preparing for Your Screen

In the 48 hours leading up to your cervical screening test, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Do not have sex
  • Do not douche
  • Avoid using a tampon
  • Do not use birth control, foam, jelly, or cream
  • Refrain from applying medicine or cream to your vagina

Cervical Cancer Treatment

The treatment of cervical cancer depends on the stage of cancer that you have. So, treatment options may also depend on the exact location of the cancer, your age, the type of cervical cancer you have (squamous cell or adenocarcinoma), and whether or not you have had children.

Treatment of Cervical Cancer — Joshua G. Cohen, MD | UCLA Health

Summary

Cervical cancer is a treatable condition. The key to successfully beating this disease is to stay vigilant, not become apathetic or too busy to remember, and stick to a regular screening program. You also need to get your HPV vaccination to stop the virus that causes cervical cancer in its tracks.

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