To begin with, let's understand who is at risk for cervical cancer?
>>Many sexual partners increases your chance of acquiring HPV infection
>>Early sexual activity. Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.
>>Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs — such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS — increases your risk of HPV.
>>A weakened immune system. You may be more likely to develop cervical cancer if your immune system is weakened by another health condition and you have HPV.
>>Smoking. Smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.
How can we prevent cervical cancer?
To reduce your risk of cervical cancer:
>>Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine (cervical cancer vaccine). Receiving a vaccination to prevent HPV infection may reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Ask your doctor whether an HPV vaccine is appropriate for you.
>>Have routine Pap tests. Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix, so they can be monitored or treated in order to prevent cervical cancer. Most doctors suggest beginning routine Pap tests at age 21 and repeating them every few years.
>>Annual ultrasound scan of the pelvis to check the cervix for any growth, preferably a transvaginal scan with color doppler study.
>>Practice safe sex. Reduce your risk of cervical cancer by taking measures to prevent sexually transmitted infections
>>Don't smoke. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit.
Can cervical cancer be treated?
Cervical cancer is often curable if it's diagnosed at an early stage. And that’s why the importance of annual check up is necessary.
When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage, it's often possible to slow its progression and relieve any associated symptoms, such as pain and vaginal bleeding, what we call as palliative care in cancer.