October 29, 2019 • Natacha Mugeni
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix and is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45. It is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 representing 6.6% of all female cancers. Approximately 90% of deaths from cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
The high mortality rate from cervical cancer globally could be reduced through a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, early diagnosis, effective screening and treatment programmes. There are currently vaccines that protect against common cancer-causing types of human papilloma virus and can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
The most common finding in patients with cervical cancer is an abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) test result. Physical symptoms of cervical cancer may include the following:
The prevention and control of cervical cancer include multidisciplinary interventions across the life course. The following are needed to improve cervical cancer control:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection must be present for cervical cancer to occur. Complete evaluation starts with Papanicolaou (Pap) testing. Screening aims to detect precancerous changes, which, if not treated, may lead to cancer. Women who are found to have abnormalities on screening need follow-up, diagnosis and treatment, in order to prevent the development of cancer or to treat cancer at an early stage.
The following are the modalities to screen for cervical cancer from the World Health Organisation (WHO):
Almost all cervical cancer deaths can be avoided if known effective interventions are available to all women and implemented, including immunizing adolescent girls against human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical screening and treatment of precancerous lesions.
You deserve to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Visit your gynaecologist today.
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