In 2014, over 12,000 American women dealt with a cancerous cervix. Of these, 4,115 succumbed to this ailment. There has been a steady down-slide in deaths because of this disease. Heightened awareness about regular screenings is responsible for this reduction in mortality.
Cervical cancer causes an anomalous growth of defective cells. The primary culprit usually is HPV, a pathogen that attacks the cervix and promotes the growth of cancerous lesions. A healthy cervix does many critical things in a woman’s body:
- The cervix produces a dense, stretchy discharge during ovulation that is required to deliver the sperm to the egg safely.
- The cervix enables the body to flush out menstrual blood easily.
- The cervix also checks the entry of pathogens into the uterus thus protecting both the mother and child.
- During childbirth, the cervix facilitates delivery by dilating completely.
Signs of Cervical Cancer
In its initial stages, it shows no significant symptoms. Later on, the following signs could appear:
- Erratic menstruation
- Vaginal bleeding, especially after having sex
- Abrupt weight loss
- Painful and difficult urination
- Unpleasant vaginal discharge
The following tests can diagnose cervical cancer in its nascent stage thus making it easier to treat:
- Pap Smear Test – It is done on cervical cells. These are checked for pre-cancerous cell modifications.
- HPV Test – It is done on cells for forms of HPV that cause precancerous modifications.
Decoding Test Results:
Pap Smear Test:
- Normal Result – A normal report indicates that there is no presence of anomalous cells.
- Unclear Result – An unclear result indicates that there could be anomalies in your cervix. Such a result does not necessarily mean you have cancer as such modifications occur during menopause or pregnancy as well.
- Abnormal – A positive test confirms the presence of anomalous cells, but it does not always mean you have cervical cancer.
- Negative Result – This confirms that you have no HPV presence and hence no cervical cancer.
- Positive Result – This confirms that you have an HPV presence but it still does not conclude that the cervical cells are cancerous at this point.
Tips for Prevention:
- Regular screenings should be attended to catch cervical cancer quickly.
- Women should consult their physician if they see or feel anything out of ordinary.
- Stop smoking as it damages cervical cells.
- Opt for an HPV vaccine to protect yourself from harmful strains of the HPV virus
- Always practice safe sex.
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