Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Is January

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Is January

About 500,000 women around the world will be diag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer, usu­al­ly due to the human papil­lo­mavirus (HPV). This is a sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­ted virus that can be screened – via a Pap test – detect­ing ear­ly signs of can­cer. The ear­li­er the can­cer is found, the more effec­tive the treatment.

With Jan­u­ary des­ig­nat­ed as Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Aware­ness Month, health offi­cials at Mount Sinai Health Sys­tem are pro­vid­ing tips on diag­no­sis, risk, pre­ven­tion and treat­ment options.

Dr. Stephanie V. Blank, Mount Sinai Health Sys­tem Divi­sion of Gyne­co­log­ic Oncol­o­gy direc­tor, said cer­vi­cal can­cer is pre­ventable. She said between the HPV vac­cine and bet­ter screen­ing options, doc­tors can bet­ter detect unusu­al cell growth before they become can­cer­ous. Doc­tors now have the tools to com­plete­ly elim­i­nate cer­vi­cal can­cer, but these tools must be used properly.

What Does An HPV Test Look For?

The HPV test will look for the virus that caus­es changes in the cells. The Pap test is designed to detect cell changes that could become cancerous.

How To Pre­vent HPV From Developing

There are sev­er­al ways in which to reduce your chances of being diag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer due to an HPV infection:

  • Vac­ci­na­tion – The HPV vac­cine is designed to pre­vent infec­tion and cer­vi­cal can­cer caused by HPV
  • Avoid Sex­u­al Contact – Cer­vi­cal can­cer is main­ly caused by an HPV infec­tion. If you avoid sex­u­al activ­i­ty, you reduce your risk of devel­op­ing HPV
  • Use Pro­tec­tion – It’s impor­tant to pre­vent the spread of STDs such as HPV, you should use sper­mi­ci­dal gels or a bar­ri­er pro­tec­tion to pro­tect yourself.

Oth­er Poten­tial Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Risks

  • Smok­ing
  • More than one sex partner 
  • Birth con­trol use for more than five years 
  • Sec­ond­hand smoke

What Are The Symp­toms Of Cer­vi­cal Cancer?

Cer­vi­cal can­cer doesn’t gen­er­al­ly show ear­ly signs of the dis­ease, but advanced cer­vi­cal can­cer does. The symp­toms of this dis­ease are:

  • Abnor­mal vagi­nal dis­charge and bleeding 
  • Fre­quent need for urination 
  • Unex­plained weight loss 
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Inter­course pain

What Are The Treat­ments For Cer­vi­cal Cancer?

  • Surgery to remove affect­ed tissue 
  • Chemother­a­py to stop can­cer cell growth 
  • Radi­a­tion to kill can­cer cells or stop them from growing 
  • Immunother­a­py uses the body’s own immune sys­tem to fight against cancer

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