Cervical cancer is an unwitting threat that likes to lay low. It does not show any symptoms during its first stage, causing us to be improvident about the threat. It is uncommon for many women to take the Papanicolaou (or PAP) test as a routine, making this type of cancer undetected until it is too late. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a virus named ‘Human Papillomavirus’ or HPV.
There are many varieties of HPV however the main cause of cervical cancer is HPV type 16 and 18. HPV type 6 and 11 can cause Condylomata Acuminata, a viral skin disease characterised by a soft wart-like growth on the genitals after infection from skin to skin contact.
The most common reason for women contracting cervical cancer is sexual transmission from men who have HPV. These men receive HPV from women who were a virus carrier. HPV infects both men and women; it causes no harm to men but a cruel threat to women. Cervical cancer shows no symptoms during its first stage, which is why it is important to have cervical cancer screening. Once passed the first stage, its symptoms include, but are not limited to, abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal leucorrhea with a different colour, strong smell, substantially increased amount or mixed with blood.
It is recommended that we take notice on any of these symptoms. It is also highly recommended for women to take cervical cancer screening for HPV more often. Some may shy away because the method of examination, but tests has been developed to the point where it can be tested via urine collection. If there is no HPV, then the possibility of having cervical cancer is very minimal. It is easier and faster to check for HPV, comparing to checking for a cancer cell. It is recommended to check for HPV first, if the result is abnormal, continue with the Papanicolaou test. In any case, it is still recommended that the Papanicolaou test be taken once a year as some types of cancer may take as long as 10 years to show symptoms. Cervical cancer can be cured if detected at the beginning stage.
There are many treatments for cervical cancer such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, each treatment has its side effects. The best option is for women to take care be vaccinated to prevent the disease. Girls can be vaccinated at 9 years old. However, the vaccination should be done before ever having a sexual relationship. Otherwise, it is recommended take the Papanicolaou test and consult with a doctor before the vaccination.
Provided by Healthlab Hua Hin