January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Read about questions that are connected to cervical cancer, HPV disease and detecting problems early and quickly. There are so many distressing stories of family members and women battling HPV, precancerous conditions and actual cervical cancer. Advances and research studies into the prevention, treatment and early detection of this debilitating problem are available on the web, at your doctor’s office and through your local health clinic. Cervical cancer be stopped before it becomes life-threatening.
Over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than one-third of these women will die as a result of this cancer. Do you know that cervical cancer is treatable and preventable? There are improved screening and vaccinations available to any woman who is interested in taking care of themselves. If you are concerned you can get screened for cervical cancer and receive the human papillomavirus or HPV vaccine (if you are eligible).
Research and science has provided ways to protect you from cervical cancer, but the most important element of finding and curing this disease is you. First you need to have annual or regular pap smears and if you are eligible you need to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine. HPV is common and is the main cause of cervical cancer. Almost 75 percent of reproductive-age women have been infected at one time or another with genital HPV. The virus may cause no symptoms and often goes away on its own if you have a healthy immune system. However there 5 percent of women have been found to have invasive HPV. If untreated this persistent virus will, in almost 100 percent of cases, result in cancer of the cervix.
Young girls should receive the HPV vaccine before they become sexually active. This will prevent most cervical cancers. The vaccine itself is given in three doses.
Cervical cancer starts slowly and may erupt with exact symptoms. It does begin as a precancerous condition or dysplasia. Abnormal cells are detected through a pap test and can be treated. If you are under 30 request an HPV test in addition to your regular pap test.
Dysplasia, if left undetected or untreated, can turn into cervical cancer. This type of cancer can spread to the intestines, bladder lungs and liver. Cervical cancer that has advanced or metastasized will result in horrible treatments, quality of life issues, and possible death.
Watch for symptoms of abnormal vaginal bleeding, periods that last longer and are heavier than usual, unusual discharge and bleeding after menopause.
Those in developing countries as well as women who just do not want to go to the doctors or who have financial and insurance issues can perform their own tests. Using a cotton swab dipped in common household vinegar and applied to the cervix can help you discover if you have precancerous cells. If the normally pink cervix turns white or yellowish there are precancerous cells that could possibly grow into cancer. Using liquid nitrogen (applied by a competent medical professional) precancerous cells can be removed immediately.
No need to suffer through the pain and trauma of cervical cancer. During January get regular screening, the HPV vaccination if applicable and use personal hygiene methods to keep yourself free of cervical cancers.