HAVE YOU HAD YOUR PAP SMEAR TEST YET??
What is Cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cervix. The cervix is a hollow cylinder that connects the lower part of a woman's uterus to her vagina. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, resulting in 300 000 deaths. HIV infected women are at a higher risk for HPV infection at an early age (between 13-18 years) due to a suppressed immune system and are diagnosed with cervical cancer at an age of between 15-49 years.
What are the symptoms of Cervical cancer?
Some people may have no symptoms, but some people may experience:
Unusual bleeding, between periods, after sex or after menopause
Abnormal vaginal discharge that looks or smells different than usual
Pain in the pelvis
Needing to urinate more often
Pain during urination
Failure to always use protection during sex
Sexually transmitted infections
Having many sexual partners
Having sex at a young age
Being overweight/obese with low physical activity levels
How to prevent Cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer can often be prevented by having regular Pap test and HPV tests to find any pre-cancers and treat them. It can also be prevented by receiving the HPV vaccine. Women aged between 18-25 who have been sexually active should have Pap smears every 3 years, or 2 years later after first sexual activity and continue until age 70. Pap smear screening involves taking a swab of the cervical cells. It is uncomfortable but painless. Go for regular Pap Smears, Cervical cancer can be effectively treated if detected and diagnosed early.
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