Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is slow-growing, so its progression through precancerous changes provides opportunities for prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Cervical cancer begins with abnormal changes in the cervical tissue. The risk of developing these abnormal changes is associated with infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)- a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. In addition, early sexual contact and taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills), smoking and HIV infection increase the risk of cervical cancer because they lead to greater exposure to HPV.
In the early stages of cervical cancer, a person may experience no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, one of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This can include bleeding: between menstrual periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse or a pelvic exam, or bleeding after douching. Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding after menopause are also possible symptoms of cervical cancer.
There are two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
1- Pap test (Pap smear): It looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer. A healthcare professional widens the vagina using a tool they call a speculum to allow access to the cervix. They then collect a sample of cells from the cervix. They will send the cell sample to a laboratory for examination under a microscope. Then the laboratory technicians look at the appearance of the cells. If they appear abnormal, it may be a sign that cervical cancer is in the early stages of development, known as precancer. Early treatment can correct these cellular changes and prevent the onset of cervical cancer.
A Pap test result can be:
– Normal: the result means that no cell changes were found on your cervix. But you still need to get Pap tests in the future.
– Unclear: It is common for test results to come back unclear. that your cervical cells look like they could be abnormal. It is not clear if it’s related to HPV. It could be related to life changes like pregnancy, menopause, or an infection. The HPV test can help find out if your cell changes are related to HPV.
– Abnormal: the result means that cell changes were found on your cervix. This usually does not mean that you have cervical cancer. Abnormal changes on your cervix are likely caused by HPV. The changes may be minor (low-grade) or serious (high-grade). Most of the time, minor changes go back to normal on their own. But more serious changes can turn into cancer if they are not removed. In rare cases, an abnormal Pap test can show that you may have cancer.
- HPV test: looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.
An HPV test result can be:
– Negative: The test means you do not have an HPV type that is linked to cervical cancer.
– Positive: the test means you do have an HPV type that may be linked to cervical cancer. This does not mean you have cervical cancer now. But it could be a warning.
In general, doctors recommend beginning Pap testing at age 25 and they recommend repeating Pap testing every three years for women ages 21 to 65. Women age 30 and older can consider Pap testing every five years if the procedure is combined with testing for HPV. Or they might consider HPV testing instead of the Pap test.
Eve Fertility Center is now offering Pap Smear Screening for more information please call 06-5725551 or visit https://eve-ivf.com/en/book-an-appointment/ for online bookings.