Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers of the woman‘s reproductive system. Fortunately, its prevention, early diagnosis and treatment have been shown to reduce mortality rate.
Unlike breast cancer that may have a hereditary factor or family-linked, cervical cancer is more of a lifestyle disease. In other words, one is not predisposed to suffer from cervical cancer even if her mother, sister or aunt suffers from it. The cause of cervical cancer is multi-factorial, and some of these risk factors include:
- Early sex
- Multiple sex partners
- Multiple pregnancies
HPV and Cervical Cancer
From all factors mentioned, health experts had identified one important causative agent of the cervical cancer – the human papillomavirus or HPV.
HPV consists of a group of more than 100 viruses and it is revealed that there are more than 70 distinct site-specific types of HPV. This means that they will grow on one part of the body, but not on other. Of these, close to 30 types are found in the anus and genital areas. The most notorious of these are the HPV types 16 and 18 which are cancer-causing.
Everyone has certain amount of HPV in their body. But the triggering factor would be contracting a high-risk strain from someone through sexual intercourse.
How to avoid HPV
- Practice safe sex and family planning. For those who choose to be sexually active, a long-term and mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected person is the strategy most likely to prevent genital HPV infection.
- HPV vaccines are expected to become available soon.
Cervical Cancer prevention
- A pap smear is the standard procedure to check for any cervical cell changes. If the first two consecutive pap results are negative, a three-yearly screening should suffice.
- Abstain from smoking.
Quick Facts on Cervical Cancer
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 1,300 women are diagnosed and close to 750 women dies from cervical cancer daily.