News | 24 Jan 2024
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. This condition arises when cells in the cervix undergo abnormal changes. Fortunately, cervical cancer is highly preventable, and it can be treated when identified early.
Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Contrary to some misconceptions, this sickness is not hereditary, unlike breast or ovarian cancer. Parents of young girls can protect their children from acquiring the HPV virus later in life by ensuring they receive the HPV vaccine. Vaccination against the HPV virus has been proven to be the most effective way of preventing cervical cancer, according to a recent study www.publichealthscotland.scot. For women over 30, regular HPV and Pap tests are essential for taking control of their health.
Let’s look at some common misconceptions and explain the realities regarding cervical cancer. It is important to know the truth because false information can hinder timely preventive steps and early detection.
Myth: Cervical cancer can be inherited.
Fact: Cervical cancer is not hereditary like breast or ovarian cancer. It is caused by HPV infection. To prevent infection, ensure vaccination for your child and regular HPV and Pap tests for yourself.
Myth: The cause of cervical cancer is unknown.
Fact: Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus, a sexually transmitted infection.
Myth: I don’t need to get screened because I don’t have any symptoms.
Fact: Screening examinations are important for identifying problems in people who do not show any symptoms. Abnormal cervical cells may not cause symptoms immediately, but they can be found by screening.
Myth: A Pap smear test can identify other types of women’s cancers, like ovarian cancer.
Fact: The Pap Smear Test for the cervix focuses on finding problems in the cervix only and doesn’t identify other women’s cancers.
Myth: Pap smears are always painful.
Fact: Some women may feel slight discomfort during a Pap smear, but it should not be painful. The procedure is usually quick, and the discomfort is often brief and mild.
Myth: Cervical cancer is fatal.
Fact: Cervical cancer can be cured if detected and treated at an early stage.
Myth: Cervical cancer is contagious.
Fact: Cancer itself is not contagious, but HPV infection, a leading cause of cervical cancer, can be spread through skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
For more information: www.cansa.org.za