Another Look at Cervical Cancer

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Out of the several diseases that plague human race, many erroneously believe that cervical cancer is the deadliest. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cervix, the cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is one of the most common types of cancer in women worldwide, but with early detection and proper treatment, it is also one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer. Cervical cancer can occur when the cells on the cervix begin to change to precancerous cells. Although, not all precancerous cells will turn to cancer, it is very important to find the cells in time in order to prevent them spreading. 

According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9063649/Cervical, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women worldwide, after breast, colorectal, and lung cancers, with 569,847 new cases every year. It is also the fourth most common cause of cancer death (311,365 deaths in 2018) in women worldwide. Globally, one in 70 women developed cervical cancer between birth and age 79 years.

On the causes of cervical cancer, NHS.UK has this to say, Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by an infection with certain high-risk types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). 

Human Papillomavirus is an infection that causes warts in various parts of the body. It is the most common sexually transmitted infections. It can be spread through sexual contact, any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, vaginal, anal or oral sex and through sharing sex toys.

Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are different types of HPV, but only a few of them are considered high-risk for causing cervical cancer. Other causes includes smoking, a weakened immune system, long-term use of oral contraceptives, multiple sexual partners, and early sexual activity. These are risk factors associated with cervical cancer. They are not actual causes but can lead to it if not managed properly. 

A woman who keeps multiple sex partners and have unprotected coital relationship with them is at risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical Cancer is not an STI, but it will interest you to know that HPV which is the primary cause of cervical cancer is spread through sexual contact and not through handshakes nor through the air. That is why, a woman with multiple bed partners is at risk of developing cervical cancer. Human Papillomavirus is spread from person to person through any sexual contact made with an infected person. Your sexual partner/partners may have other sexual partners and could get infected and in turn infect you. If not detected on time, this could lead to Cervical Cancer.

Symptoms

There are several perceived symptoms associated or linked to cervical cancer. In the early stages, the symptoms are not noticeable however, as time progresses there will be abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after coitus, or after menopause. Other symptoms include, increased vaginal discharge, pains in the pelvic, pain during coitus. It is important to consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms as they can be caused by other conditions.

Prevention

Cervical Cancer can be prevented by going for regular cervical cancer screenings, get vaccinated against HPVs. Regular screening with Pap smears can detect precancerous changes on time which will give room for timely intervention and reduce risk of developing cervical cancer.

Education about cervical cancer, possible causes, symptoms, prevention and it’s risk factors can also help reduce the spread of Cervical Cancer.

– Igomu Agatha Achenyo
Student, Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba Kogi State.


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