Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Things Every Woman Should Know

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New Delhi: Cervical cancer can be described as a type of cancer that originates in the cell of the cervix (that is the lower part of one’s uterus and connects the vagina). Most cases of cervical are caused by various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection. The body’s immune system prevents the virus from doing harm when one is exposed to HPV. However, the virus survives over years and can cause cervical cells to turn into cancer cells. It may be noted that both men and women can get infected with HPV, which can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. 

Below are a few preventive measures that can help women to keep cervical cancer away and improve their quality of life. 

Regular Pap tests

Screening for cervical cancer is a must. Scheduling routine Pap tests can help in taking the necessary precautions and spotting unusual changes in the cervix.  Avoid skipping tests or ignoring symptoms as early detection is the key to tackle this cancer. 

Bid adieu to smoke

Smoking weakens your immune system by making it more difficult for your body to fight HPV infections on its own. Carcinogens from cigarette smoke tend to move the cancer-growing genetic code rapidly from the virus towards cervical cells, with the strains of HPV that pose a higher risk of causing cancer. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies and tips to help you quit. 

Practice safe sex

You can reduce your risk of HPV and cervical cancer by taking measures to prevent sexually transmitted infections – like using a condom when you have sex and limiting the number of sexual partners you have. 

Don’t forget to get vaccinated

There is a vaccine available for cervical cancer. This vaccine can help protect against certain types of HPV that tend to cause cervical cancer. Your doctor will help you to understand when to take it. You must know that most cervical cancer cases are preventable. Like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine can help your immune system to create an antibody response that protects your body against the infection. 

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