Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects the lower part of a woman’s uterus to her vagina, often referred to as the neck of the womb. Most cervical cancers begin in the cells on the surface of the cervix. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women, yet it is a preventable disease. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Kenya.
It is caused by various types of human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted infection. When exposed to HPV, our body’s immune system prevents the virus from causing any harm, however, in a small percentage of the population, the virus persists and causes changes to the cervical cells which later may become cancerous. HPV can also cause other cancers in women and men. These include vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, rectal cancer, and throat cancer.
Reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer by screening and receiving the vaccine against HPV. Find the top gynaecologists for screening services here
Risk factors for cervical cancer include:
-multiple sexual partners
-early onset of sexual activity (when very young)
-other sexually transmitted infections
-a weakened immune system
Prevention measures for cervical cancer include:
-routine screening with HPV DNA test, PAP smear, or VIA/VILI
-practice safe sex
Early-stage cervical cancer usually produces no signs or symptoms. More advanced cervical cancer may present with:
-vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause
-watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be foul-smelling
-pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
Cervical cancer screening
Screening for cervical cancer refers to tests that are done to detect the presence of pre-cancer or cancer cells before obvious signs and symptoms of cancer occur. It detects abnormal cervical cell changes (pre-cancers) so that they can be successfully treated before they have a chance to turn into cervical cancer. Access screening services now.