Cervical cancer prevention tips can be significantly effective when they are followed right, as the condition can either be stopped at its pre-cancerous stage or even before that. To learn about cervical cancer prevention, though, you should first know what causes the condition.
Cervical cancer is a malignant neoplasm (abnormal growth) originating in the cells lining the cervix, which is located at the narrow, outer end of the uterus. The most common causing agent has been found to be the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Recent studies conducted by WHO/ICO, have revealed that 11.4% women in the general population are estimated to be carriers of HPV infection. Till date, more than 30 different kinds of HPV that affect genital mucosa have been found, and among these, 70.9% of the cervical cancers are caused by HPV type 16 and 18.
Cervical Cancer Prevention – The Five Key Tips
Due to the causes behind the condition, one of the most preventable types of cancer is cervical cancer. There are several ways through which a woman can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer, and some of them are as follows:
Cervical Cancer Prevention Tip #1: Regular Screening
Every 3 years, women under the age of 21 – 65 years of age should undergo cervical cancer screening.
However, women above 30 years of age will have an option of getting both Pap Smear and HPV DNA screened once in 5 years. Women who are around 65 years of age can discontinue regular screening if previous tests have shown no evidence of cancer or HPV infection.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Tip #2: Using Protection
Sexually active women are at risk for various sexually transmitted diseases, and such diseases or infections further increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.
For this reason, it is always advisable to use protection while indulging in any sexual activity. It is also important to limit the number of sexual partners and consider the partners’ sexual history, as it could be a risk factor for HPV infection.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Tip #3: Quitting Smoking
Studies have found that smoking cigarette increases the risk of developing many cancers, including cervical cancer. When combined with HPV infection, smoking can actually accelerate the spread of cervical cancer, so quitting smoking is the way to go.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Tip #4: Regular Follow Up
It is very important to follow-up with the doctor on any abnormal findings, either in the Pap Smear test or HPV DNA test. Regular screening is essential in determining the status of the cervix.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Tip #5: HPV Vaccine
FDA has approved the HPV vaccine Gardasil to be given to girls up to 9 years of age. The vaccine is most effective when given to young women before they become sexually active.
Gardasil provides protection against the HPV types 16 and 18, and they cause approximately 70 per cent of all cervical cancers.
As shown, frequent Pap Screening of all women of the age of 25 years or older and educating women about the risk of HPV infection is necessary for the large scale prevention of cervical cancer.