CERVICAL CANCER: A Preventable Time Bomb

CERVICAL CANCER: A Preventable Time Bomb

Attention: Ladies of all ages and every real men who love and respect their mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, lady friend or lady cousins.

Cervical Cancer is the number two (2) cause of death in the Philippines next to breast cancer. It is labeled somewhat as a silent killer because there is no pain whatsoever in the early part of the disease. It kills 12 Filipinos, mostly women, every day. It is the most common malignancy that afflicts and kills women with conservative estimates between 35,000 and 70,000 cases with almost 7,000 new cases added every year, according to studies.

Good thing, this cancer is preventable.  In fact, there is now a vaccine for the disease and it can be cured, if detected early! If it goes undetected, cervical cancer is the deadliest form of cancer. 

Twenty percent of all cancers are caused by viruses. Cervical cancer is primarily caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide. HPV takes several forms, which are referred to by number. There are about 100 types of HPV that generally infect people in various parts of the body but there are only 13 types that can cause cancer in the cervix.

Cervical cancer results from the uncontrolled growth of severely abnormal cells in the cervix, the opening of the womb. Usually, it takes about ten years before cancer develops. 
According to the Merck manual, Cervical cancer begins on the surface of the cervix and can penetrate deep beneath the surface. The cancer can spread directly to nearby tissues, including the vagina. Or it can enter the rich network of small blood and lymphatic vessels inside the cervix, then spread to other parts of the body.

In the early stages, cervical cancer usually causes no symptoms but unlike some cancers, cervical cancer presents early signs like the following:
  • It may cause spotting 
  • or heavier bleeding between periods
  • bleeding after intercourse
  • or unusually heavy periods. 

In later stages, such abnormal bleeding is common,” says The Merck Manual of Medical Information.

Other symptoms may include:

  • a foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • and swelling of the legs. 

The urinary tract may be blocked. Without treatment, kidney failure and death can result.

The younger a woman was the first time she had sexual intercourse and the more sex partners she has had, the higher her risk of cervical cancer. While women may contract HPV when they are young, cervical cancer is most likely to develop in women 35 years or older. Several other factors that may trigger cervical cancer among women include the following:

  •  early age at first birth
  •  having many births
  •  tobacco use
  •  prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives
  •  and an impaired immune system, particularly related to HIV infection.

To prevent this type of cancer, please have a vaccine shot before your very first sexual intercourse or within three (3) years after your very first sexual contact. 

Ask your trusted doctor about the vaccines against HPV that are currently sold in the market. A woman must be injected three times to guarantee full protection against the specific types of HPV infection.

The World Health Organization recommends HPV vaccination as early as nine (9) to thirteen (13) years old, especially in liberal countries. But every woman is at risk so women aged 13 to 55 years old can still have the vaccine.

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