|Female Reproductive System|
The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is "infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)," but other risk factors include smoking, multiple pregnancies, and sexual activity with a person(s) having the HPV virus. To reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer, "have regular Pap tests to help find abnormal changes in the cervix early" (1). You can also talk to your doctor about getting HPV vaccine. Not smoking and eating well and including sufficient vegetables and fruit in your diet may also help protecting your cervix from negative changes. Just like breast cancer, early detection increases chances of treatment success!
Early symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting, pain during sexual intercourse, clear watery
discharge from the vagina, and foul smelling vaginal discharge.
Among the later signs of cervical cancer are pain in the pelvic area or lower back, swelling in the legs, changes in bladder habits, blood in the urine, and loss of bladder control.
For more information on the frequency of Pap testing and HPV testing, talk to your doctor and check Cancer.ca's website here.
Finally, here are the statistics here in Canada for 2013:
- 1,450 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
- 380 women will die from cervical cancer in Canada.
It is interesting to know that the US has introduced a vaccine for cervical cancer and it has since cut down on cases of HPV virus infection. Check this piece of news in the Globe and Mail 6 days ago:
"The U.S. introduction of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer in 2006 has reduced infections with the human papillomavirus or HPV - the sexually transmitted virus that causes the disease - by more than half among girls and young women, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.
The results were better than expected and may even suggest that unvaccinated individuals are benefiting because of a drop in the number of infections circulating, the team reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases."
Remember "It's not just the boobs!"a Pap test can save your life! Talk to your doctor now and stay healthy and happy.
(1) Cancer.ca: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/cervical/overview/?region=ab
(2) Screening for Life: http://www.screeningforlife.ca/cervicalscreening/about-cervical-cancer-screening?gclid=CPWm2_r__7cCFdFDMgodYVMASw
(3) The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/cervical-cancer-vaccines-cut-rates-of-hpv-infections-by-more-than-half-us-report/article12680922/