Cervical cancer is one of the medical issues that needs awareness among women worldwide. Cervical cancer prevention methods and early detection will help in the reduction rate of women suffering from such deadly diseases. One of the detection tests of cervical cancer is a pap smear test. This article focuses on the explanation of a pap smear test and the importance of early-stage detection.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer occurs in the lining of the cervix area of the body. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major cause of cervical cancer this virus spreads because of sexual contact. Due to the effect of the virus, some cells become abnormal and later turn into cancer cells leading to cervical cancer.
How do pap smear tests play into cervical cancer?
Let us first understand what are pap smear tests. A pap smear is a test that is done in females starting from the age of 21 years, to detect any type of cancerous cells in the cervix at any stage.
Why do we need a pap smear test?
A pap smear test is mainly done to detect any abnormal or cancerous cells so that if found can be treated immediately. The collected cells are then sent to labs for analysis and diagnosis. Pap smear tests look for any abnormal cells in the cervix that are caused due to high HPV content. Doing these tests at the earliest possible age can prove to be very beneficial and effective. This test can be done once every three years after the initial consultation. In certain cases, an HPV test can be done in place of a pap smear test.
Cause and symptoms of cervical cancer
The main cause of cervical cancer is Human papillomavirus- HPV, there are mainly two HPV viruses that cause cervical cancer they are, HPV16 and HPV 18. If an HPV infection is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can increase the risk of cervical cancer by 95%. Some of the various causes of HPV infection are as follows- unprotected intercourse or sexual relations, multiple births, specific immunity levels, chain-smoking, etc.
Cervical cancer shows some symptoms in the body when identified can prevent in the early stage. Some common symptoms of cervical cancer are blood content in urine, vaginal bleeding, loss of weight, more tiredness, change of color and odor in vaginal waste, abdominal pain, and swollen legs. Advanced cervical cancer symptoms can be seen due to the spread in other body parts like the liver, lungs, stomach, bones, etc.
Cervical cancer prevention
Cervical cancer can be treated and cured when detected in the early stage. Prevention is better than cure, now let us learn some of the preventive measures that prevent cervical cancer –
Vaccination – vaccination against HPV can be the best way to prevent cervical cancer. It can be taken by both girls and boys. Gardasil 9 is the FDA-approved vaccine that prevents multiple diseases caused by HPV. This vaccine cannot be used to treat existing HPV diseases.
Pap smear tests – undertaking regular pap smear tests will identify the abnormal cells, this cervical cancer screening for early detection can prevent death. Following the guidelines of the doctors for a pap smear test is necessary.
HPV and pap smear test – a combination of both tests improves the accuracy of detection, where the failure in detection of oncogenic virus in one test can be detected in the other test.
Smoking – Smoking will lead to cancer cells, in women cervical cancer is more. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of cervical cancer and also lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Safe intercourse – Using safety measures during sexual activity will reduce the spread of HPV and limit the number of sex partners to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
In conclusion, creating awareness about such dangerous and deadly diseases is very important. Educating people about pap smear tests, cervical cancer screening, and regular clinical tests can improve the quality of life. Social media, campaigns, and other forms of informative activities can bring awareness to society in combating cervical cancer. The preventive measures need to be focused so that the risk of spreading and suffering from such dangerous diseases is reduced.