Cervical Cancer: The Importance of Early Detection and Prevention


With advances in treatment, early detection is even more essential due to improved overall survival without any evidence that screening is harmful.

Get informed. Find out the facts about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes it. Help educate other women in your life too.

Get screened. Cervical cancer screening typically starts at age 30 and is repeated periodically.

Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is given in 2 doses that should begin when a girl is between 9 and 14 years old.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. It accounts for around 16% of all new cases in women each year. Globally, about 330,000 women per year develop invasive cervical cancer and over half die from the disease. 

The development of cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells, known as carcinomas, invade the cervical tissue or become lodged between two layers of cells (epithelium) that line the reproductive organs of the body (the uterus, vagina, and the upper part of both lungs).

It is believed that most cases are caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that can cause abnormalities in cervix cells. Approximately 80% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV infection, with type 16 and 18 infections accounting for most cases. 

Smoking and a lack of access to screening are other factors that may contribute. Cervical cancer incidence has decreased in many countries over the past decades, but it remains a major public health concern in developing countries. 

 THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DETECTION has become even more apparent as advances in treatment have resulted in improved overall survival rates without any evidence that screening is harmful. We must increase early detection of cervical cancer, improve treatment outcomes, and improve quality of life outcomes for patients suffering from this disease to reduce mortality.

PAP SMEAR TESTING is a method for detecting abnormalities in the cells of the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer if untreated. As a result of the Pap test, your body's cells are examined for changes such as DNA damage and/or abnormal growth called dysplasia, which may be precursors to cervical cancer. There are, however, some women who have regular Pap tests who have a reduced risk of developing cervical cancer, while other women who receive abnormal results on their initial screening have no history of precancerous changes on subsequent tests or never develop this disease. Therefore, if you receive an abnormal report from your screening test, you should undergo additional tests (SUCH AS COLPOSCOPY*) to determine whether there is any evidence of disease present within your cervix so that treatment can be initiated timely.

A COLPOSCOPY* is a safe, effective, and important procedure in the management of women with abnormal cytology results from their Pap test.

THE RISK ASSESSMENT value for a woman who has had sexual intercourse between the ages of 21 and 65 should be determined according to her personal risk assessment value determined by taking into account her gender and race in order to determine her risk of developing cervical cancer. 
Smoking and HPV infection status (HPV accounts for about 90% of cervical cancer cases) are some of the risk factors for developing cervical cancer. 
When you smoke, you should start getting screened before you turn 21 years old. Smoking is known to reduce your overall life expectancy by between 10 and 20 years due to the harmful effects it has on your health like lung disease, heart disease, stroke, etc. Moreover, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes mellitus type 2, osteoporosis, etc., can lead to a reduction in quality of life.

It is recommended by the Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that all girls between the ages of 9 -11 and 12 years of age receive a vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is possible that HPV infection can lead to abnormal changes in the cells of the body, such as cancer. 

Most types of HPV don’t cause any health problems. However, some types of HPV can cause infections that lead to cancers if they are not treated early. Some vaccines protect against certain types or ‘strains’ of HPV. These vaccines are given together and cover a range of common strains so you will need two doses for full protection. You should get vaccinated before you become sexually active because many infections are caused by viruses that only infect people who have been in close contact with those infected before they got sick the vaccines are safe and effective. You should tell your doctor immediately if you experience any problems after receiving a vaccination. In addition, there are strict guidelines regarding who is eligible for vaccination and under what circumstances. Your doctor should be consulted if you have any concerns about the HPV vaccine. 

As a rule, THE FIRST SYMPTOMS OF CERVICAL CANCER tend to be nonspecific and go unnoticed. Early symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge or a change in this discharge that does not smell foul. 

Other symptoms may include pain in the pelvis (below the waist) or lower back, backache, or weakness on one side of the body. The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal discharge, which can be watery, thickened with blood clots (hematoma), or have an unpleasant odor. Some women notice a change in their normal vaginal odor-a fishy smell or ammonia-and these changes may signal infection by certain types of bacteria. 
Vaginal bleeding after sex is also a common sign that something is wrong, but it can occur at any time during your life so it’s important to know what to look for as well as when to seek medical attention. Abnormal bleeding after sexual intercourse may be caused by irritation from exposure to harmful substances like latex condoms or from an injury such as from inserting foreign objects into the vagina or having sexual activity with someone who has an STD (sexually transmitted disease). There are many other causes for abnormal bleeding including endometriosis and ovarian cysts; therefore, you should always see your primary gynecologist to seek medical advice. 

If you have any concerns or comments, feel free to write to us at myprime@primehealth.ae

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