Women’s health branches off into many different areas, one area needs exploring, and it is to demystify Cervical cancer and Pap smear screening. There are many factors that affect the knowledge, attitude and practice of the frequency of cervical cancer screening, and these factors vary across geographical region, culture and religion. The basic knowledge of cervical cancer screening is needed, in order for women to make an informed decision about their health, and thereby increases the reuptake of pap smear screening.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical Cancer is caused by a virus called HPV.
What is HPV virus?
HPV is short for human papilloma virus. HPV is commonly spread through sexual contact and can cause an infection in the cervix. This may cause the cells of the cervix to change and become pre-cancerous cells. Sometimes pre-cancerous cell may turn into cancer if not found and treated early.
What puts you at risk?
In addition to having HPV, several factors may affect your risk of developing cervical cancer including:
2. Having HIV ( the virus that causes AIDS) or any other condition which makes it hard for the body to fight off health problems.
3. Having given birth to three or more children.
4. Multiple sexual partners.
5. HPV infection.
6. Family history of cervical cancer.
7. Early sexual activity.
8. Having other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
9. Having children at an early age.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms in the earlier stages. Advanced cervical cancer may cause abnormal bleeding after sex or bleeding or spotting between your monthly periods. If you have any of these signs please see your health provider.
How to find out if you are at risk?
There are screening tests that can help to detect cervical cancer before it develops:
1. The Pap smear ( or Pap test ) looks for pre-cancerous cell changes on the cervix so that cervical cancer does not develop.
2.The HPV test looks for HPV– the virus that can cause precancerous cell changes and cervical cancer.
3.You can get the HPV vaccine.
What is Pap smear ?
Pap smear is a simple medical procedure that is used to detect early changes in the cell of the cervix which can be cancerous.
Why do I need a pap smear?
Doing a pap smear can save your life. It can detect abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer cells, and with treatment cervical cancer can be prevented.
Who needs a Pap smear?
All women who has ever had sex should have a Pap smear.
How often do I need to get a pap smear?
All women should do Pap smear test every year.
How do I prepare for a Pap Smear test?
1. If you are going to have a pap smear test in two days:
2. You should not douche (rinse the vagina with water or another fluid).
3. You should not use a tampon.
4. You should not have sex.
5. You should not use a birth control foam, cream, or jelly.
6. You should not use a medicine or cream in your vagina.
How is Pap smear test done?
The pap smear is done by a doctor or a nurse. During the examination the woman lies on her back. An instrument called a speculum is inserted into the vagina opening it to see the cervix. The doctor uses a small brush or spatula to collect a sample of cells from the outer opening of the cervix. The sample is then sent to the lab to be examined to see if abnormal cells are present.
Where do I go to have a Pap Smear
You can go to:
1. A general practitioner
2.Hospitals or Health Centre
3. A specialized doctor such as a gynecologist
4. Family Planning Clinics
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix, usually as a result of HPV infection. Regular cervical cancer screening is important for detecting the condition early, as symptoms may not be present in the early stages. Treatment options for cervical cancer depend on the stage and location of the cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient.