Cervical Cancer- Awareness and Prevention

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????  This year, the American cancer society projects that 12,900 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer.   In Laymen’s terms, cervical cancer is the overgrowth and inundation of the cervix with abnormal cells that can’t be eradicated by the body’s own immune defenses.

The silver lining here is that cervical pre-cancers are much more commonly found than the invasive kind that relates to the statistic previously mentioned.  This is largely due to annual, routine pap and well-woman exams.  If detection of these pre-cancerous cells, also known as dysplasia is made, it is typically much easier to treat than a full-blown cancer diagnosis where hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary.

 

Signs and Symptoms

If you are experiencing irregular bleeding, either in between periods, after sex or after menopause you should make an appointment with your health practitioner.  In addition, if you experience persistent bloating or pain in the lower abdominal area or pelvis, have pain during sex or notice irregular vaginal discharge these should be indicators that medical care and testing is necessary.  HPV is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer so if you’ve been diagnosed, treatment is important.

 

Prevention

The single most effective way to make sure you stay healthy is to have your annual well-woman exam and make sure you are tested for HPV at that time.  Make sure you are using condoms and practicing safe sex and don’t forget to listen to your body.  Don’t let signs and symptoms persist for a long period of time.  Again, the key is early detection.