Cervical Cancer Awareness Month - January 2023
Updated: Feb 3
Cervical Cancer: What is it and how can it be prevented?
Definition of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the female reproductive organs that connects the uterus to the vagina.
Who gets Cervical Cancer?
Each year, over 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed. Among these, over 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year.
Any female with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer due to HPV being so common. Most people get HPV during their life, and it will go away on its own. Women whose bodies cannot get rid of HPV are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Characteristics that increase the risk of getting HPV; the primary cause of cervical cancer include:
Having many sexual partners
Early sexual activity
Having other sexually transmitted infections
Other causes of Cervical cancer include having a weakened immune system when the body is unable to fight off HPV and smoking.
Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Symptoms of cervical cancer are when cancer grows into the surrounding tissue. The Most common initial symptoms are:
· Abnormal vaginal bleeding
· Abnormal discharge from the vagina
· Pain during sex
· Pain in the pelvic region
The Most common late symptoms are:
· Swelling of the legs
· Problems urinating or passing stool
· Blood in urine
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Early screening and detection are the most effective tool against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer usually does not show symptoms in the early stages. Routine HPV tests and Pap tests can detect abnormal cells prior to becoming cancerous.
HPV vaccination is another way to prevent cancer. Females and males aged 9 to 45 years are eligible for this vaccine. This vaccine is most effective when given prior to being sexually active.
Key Statistics for Cervical Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer. American Cancer Society.: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
What are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
What is Cervical Cancer. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical
What is Cervical Cancer? A Mayo Clinic expert explains. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervical-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352501