Healthy Living

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

I recently found out that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Despite being the second-most common cancer, awareness about it is nowhere near as that of breast cancer. Which I find quite surprising. After all, isn’t awareness and education the best way in which we can try and protect ourselves? Anyway, I did some of my own research online and came up with the following information in an attempt to increase awareness.

What is cervical cancer?

It is the cancer of the cervix which is the lower part of a woman’s uterus. It develops when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix multiply and form pre-cancerous lesions.If undetected, these lesions can go on to develop into tumours that affect the surrounding tissues and organs. [Source]

Cause of cervical cancer:

The exact cause is not known but in most cases, it is related to an infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that affects both males and females. However, most types of HPV are harmless and do not cause any symptoms. HPV types 16 and 18 are the high risk viruses which cause the pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. The low risk ones may cause warts which are treatable. [Source

Some statistics:

  • In Australia, over 700 new cases are diagnosed each year. [Source]
  • In Australia, over 200 women die of cervical cancer each year. [Source]
  • About 1 in 163 women are at risk of being diagnosed with the cancer by the age of 85. [Source]
  • Deaths have halved (in Australia) since the advent of national screening processes for cervical cancer. [Source]

Treatment for cervical cancer:

Cervical cancer can be treated if detected early. In cases where the tumour is small, a cone biopsy may be enough [Source]. In other cases, it involves surgery including an hysterectomy and/or radiotherapy depending on the size of the tumour. Hence, the best thing to do would be prevention. [Source]

Prevention:

  • A vaccination has been developed that prevents the most common HPV viruses. Girls from the age of 12 are recommended to be vaccinated. [Source]
  • Regular pap smears (every two years) are recommended for women aged 18 and above or those who are younger but sexually active. [Source]
  • Use barrier contraceptions and limit the number of sexual partners [Source]
  • Stop smoking [Source]

I guess to sum it all up, get the HPV vaccination if you can. And even after getting it, don’t forget to get your regular pap smears. A little bit of discomfort can go a long way in helping with early detection.

Prevention is always better than cure.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    January 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Glad you found it informative T! =)

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    January 30, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Tell me about it! I hadn’t heard about it in India (although I knew about breast cancer) and only found out about it after coming here. I think some medical centres send reminders to women for the pap smears. The cynic in me wonders whether the reason we don’t know much about cervical cancer or the reason it’s not publicised as much is that no celebrity or famous person has disclosed having the same!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    January 30, 2011 at 9:39 am

    The HPV vaccine came out here a few years ago and they vaccinate girls in Year 7 at schools for free…it was free for under 25s till a while ago but now there’s a fee here

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    January 30, 2011 at 9:40 am

    You’re most welcome Swar! =)

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    January 30, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Sadly Prats, many people aren’t. Women too.

  • Reply
    medical insurance in australia
    July 12, 2011 at 6:49 am

    To make treatment much more affordable, it’s best to have private insurance.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 14, 2011 at 6:47 am

    I agree… But it would be

  • Reply
    Speed Star
    August 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I agree. Cheap health insurance for individuals can come in handy when you have such conditions that need occasional treatment.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    October 16, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Hi Michelle…I am not sure about being able to get something organised but I will keep an eye out…I’m sure there will be something done…there always is!

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