Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2021
Did You Know That Cervical Cancer Can Be Prevented?
Yes! That's right, cervical cancer can be prevented, you know what they say - prevention is better than cure and in this case, it is imperative. Cervical screening is the best way to identify any abnormalities within the cervix. By having regular smear tests, these cells can be monitored and assessed correctly.
Women aged 25 to 49 are invited to be screened every three years and women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years. For women who are aged 65 or over, only those who have not been screened since they were 50, have had recent abnormal tests, or have never been screened before are still eligible for screening.
So, What Happens During A Cervical Smear?
If you are a woman in your twenties, the chances are you have heard the dreaded words ‘smear test’ and shuddered at the thought of having to get one. Well, we are here to tell you that you don’t have to panic! The bark is much harsher than the bite - trust us! Cervical Smear Tests are not that bad.
During the cervical screening, a tiny sample of cells is taken from the lining of the cervix and is then checked under a microscope for any abnormalities.
The screening sample is first checked for human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can sometimes cause abnormal cells. Rest assured that if your result does show abnormal cells, this doesn’t always mean that you have cancer.
Most abnormal results are due to signs of HPV, the presence of treatable precancerous cells.
Watch this small video clip that outlines what you should expect during cervical screening:
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer develops in a woman's cervix. It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45. Screening for abnormal cells within the cervix starts from the age of 25 to help the prevention of cervical cancer.
How Do You Get Cervical Cancer and Can It Be Prevented?
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus. HPV is a very common virus that can be contracted through any type of sexual contact with a woman or man.
There are over 100 types of HPV, many of which are harmless. But in some cases the virus can cause abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix, that can eventually lead to cervical cancer. So it is vital that you get regular cervical screenings in order to detect these early for the best treatment options- remember most cases are harmless but it is best to get checked.
The two strains of HPV to look out for are HPV 16 and HPV 18, these two strains are known to be responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer In The Early Stages?
Let us start this section off by stating that when detected at an early stage, the survival rate of cervical cancer is close to 100% when precancerous or early cancerous changes are found and treated.
The symptoms of cervical cancer can vary and most often, there are no symptoms at all in the early stages. This is why cervical screening is so important! It allows the professionals to detect early signs of cervical cancer and nip it in the bud, for the greatest chance of kicking cancer’s butt!
If you have early-stage cervical cancer, these symptoms may occur:
Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods.
Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual.
Bleeding after intercourse, douching, or a pelvic examination.
Increased vaginal discharge.
Pain during sexual intercourse.
Bleeding after menopause.
Unexplained, persistent pelvic and/or back pain.
If you have any of these symptoms: please book in with your medical professional for further investigation at your earliest convenience. As we said, let's nip it in the bud.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2021
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week aims at raising awareness of this disease, it aims to encourage women to attend a cervical screening with their local GP, support people who are undergoing/have finished treatment for cervical cancer and to raise money to support cervical cancer research.
Why not get involved in raising awareness by joining in with the #SmearForSmear campaign at: #SmearForSmear | Cervical Cancer Prevention Week