Cervical Cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina is called the cervix. Most of the time it’s caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus or HPV. HPV can be contracted thru sexual intercourse with someone who has it. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. It is important to have regular Pap Tests to determine the changes in cervical cells.
In some cases you can not control the risk of cervical cancer. It can be genetic which comes from history in your family, such as my great grandmother was the first in my family to be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early 80’s and she passed away six months after being diagnosed. It can also be risky do to your environmental exposures or behaviors that occurred in your past such as multiple unprotected sex partners. However you can control your risk in the future by limiting your sex partners. Limiting your sex partners can decrease your exposure to HPV. You can also decrease your risk by using condoms and/or a diaphragm during sexual intercourse. They both act as a wall against sexually transmitted diseases including HPV. Eating three or more servings of fruits and vegetables can also decrease your chance of cervical cancer. If u have been diagnosed with HPV it is important to have a Pap Test every 3 to 6 months to see if there are any changes in the cells and to see what the changes are. If you have not been diagnosed with HPV then once a year is sufficient. If you are 26 or younger, you can get the HPV shot. They are vaccines Cervarix and Gardasil to protect against two types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and the vaccines also protect against Genital Warts.
The symptoms of cervical cancer are bleeding from the vagina that is not normal or a change in your menstrual cycle that’s unexplainable. Bleeding during sex or when something comes in contact of the cervix. Pain during sex or vaginal discharge that is tinged with blood.
Cervical Cancer is diagnosed through a Pelvic Exam with a Pap Test. The doctor scrapes a small sample of cells from your cervix to look at the changes in your cells. Changes in the cells do not necessarily mean it’s precancerous or cancer cells on your cervix. If it’s caught early enough it can be cured and you still might be able to have children after treatment. In most cases when cancer is removed due to cervical cancer it stops a woman from having children.
There are several options for treatment…