Nearly 300,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical precancers that require treatment each year. Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is in January, which is an excellent time to raise awareness about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can help prevent certain malignancies. HPV infections can cause more than only cervical cancer, and they can also lead to invasive cervical precancer testing and treatment. If you need to learn more about cervical cancer, treatment and prevention, read on to learn more.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix, which connects the uterus to the vaginal canal. Most cervical cancer is caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.
When the body is exposed to HPV, the immune system usually stops the virus from causing harm. Nevertheless, in a small number of people, the virus can live for years, contributing to the transformation of some cervical cells into cancer cells. Cervical cancer can be prevented by having screening tests and getting a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
Early-stage cervical cancer is characterized by the presence of symptoms. The symptoms of advanced cancer or cancer that have spread to other parts of the body may be more severe, depending on which tissues and organs have been affected. A symptom could be caused by something other than cancer, that is why you should seek medical help if you develop a new symptom that does not go away. Here are some signs and symptoms to check out:
- Vaginal bleeding occurs after a sexual encounter, during a period, or after menopause.
- Pelvic pain or discomfort during sexual activity.
- Vaginal discharge is watery, crimson, and has a bad odour.
Beginning at the age of 21, contact your doctor for frequent Pap tests to detect cervical cancer in its early stages.
Can human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines help prevent cancer?
You can prevent cervical cancer by taking the human papillomavirus(HPV) vaccine. If given before girls or women are exposed to the virus, this vaccination can prevent most incidences of cervical cancer. This vaccine can also help to prevent cancers of the vaginal and vulvar regions. Also, the vaccine can protect you from genital warts, anal cancers, and mouth, throat, head, and neck cancers.
Why West Oakland Health?
West Oakland Health provides medical treatments geared to women’s health, such as family planning, healthy pregnancy, annual examinations on general health, and postpartum care. We also offer screenings for breast and cervical cancer. West Oakland Health’s expert gynaecologists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives provide women’s health services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.