January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix.
The major cause of cervical cancer is Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Infection with HPV is the major risk factor. Other factors include having too many children, being over the age of 30, sexual activity at young age, having multiple sexual partners, cigarette smoking, using oral contraceptives, and having a weak immunity.
Sign and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain.
Pap test/pap smear: a small brush or cotton tip is used to get cell samples from the vagina and the cervix. Those cells are observed under a microscope to see if they are abnormal.
HPV test: cell sample is taken from the vagina to see if there are Human papilloma viruses.
HPV vaccination is the most effective way of preventing cervical cancer. In addition, living a healthy lifestyle, not smoking, and regular exercise are believed to reduce the risk of acquiring cervical cancer.
Two doses of HPV vaccine is recommend for both males and females before the age of 12, or before becoming sexually active. If being vaccinated at the age of 15-26, three doses of HPV vaccination is recommended.
If you are older than 26 years of age please talk to your physician about the HPV vaccine.
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