Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous cells) form in the tissues of the cervix.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that usually opens into the vagina.
Unfortunately, cervical cancer has no symptoms in its early stages.
The only symptom that might indicated that you are actually suffering from this disease is unusual bleeding in between periods, after menopause or after sex.
However, it is important to note that unusual bleeding does not necessarily mean that you definitely have this type of cancer but it should be checked by your doctor.
Cervical cancer causes
Various clinical studies that have been conducted on cervical cancer have revealed that almost all cases are caused by the human papilloma virus commonly known as HPV.
HPV is a type of virus that is usually transmitted through sexual contact with a man or a woman. Scientific research has revealed that there are over 100 different types of HPV but many of them are usually harmless.
However, there are some types of HPV that can cause abnormal changes on cervix cells leading to cervical cancer.
Two common strains of HPV that are known to cause over 70% of cervical cancer are HPV 18 and HPV 16. These two types of trains usually don’t have any symptoms and many women don’t realize that they actually have an infection until it progresses to advance stages.
Screening for cervical cancer
Changes in cancer cells can be detected at a very early stage through a process known as screening.
During screening, a sample of cells are usually taken from the cervix then taken to the lab to check if there are any abnormalities.
An abnormal screening test on the cervix don’t not necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer.
In most cases, abnormal results are usually caused by infections or when you have precancerous cells that are treatable.
Women who are above 18 years of age and are sexually active are encouraged to go for cervical cancer screening after every 3 years.
Girls between the ages of 12-13 can also be vaccinated against HPV.
Who can be affected by cervical cancer?
Women of all ages can be affected by cervical cancer.
However, this condition mostly affects women who are sexually active between the ages of 30 to 45.
Cervical cancer is not common to women who are below 25 years.
However, all women who are sexually active are encourage to go for screening because it is the only way to detect this condition at an early stage.