Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in humans and the second most common cancer in women worldwide. In contrast to developed countries, cervical cancer is a public health problem in developing countries like India so much that, India alone accounts for one-quarter of the worldwide burden of cervical cancers which is approximately six to 29 percent of all cancers in women among the age of between 30 and 69 years. The most common cause of cervical cancer is an HPV infection and so experts recommend vaccination. However, certain lifestyle changes can also help to prevent cervical cancer, here Dr Rajni Gupta, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai, offers some tips
Get the HPV vaccination: Since an HPV infection is one of the main causes of cervical cancer, experts recommend getting vaccinated for the same. However, one needs to know that vaccination cannot provide 100 percent protection from HPV infection. The vaccination provides protection from only two strains of the virus. However, those are the most potent. Timely screening for the cancer is still necessary to detect the cancer early.
Practice safe sex: Since HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that could increase the risk of cervical cancer; it only makes sense to practice safe sex to limit the transmission of this virus. If a woman is not in a monogamous relationship ideally she should insist her sexual partner to wear a condom. This is necessary to limit the viral attack. Remember popping an emergency contraceptive to prevent an unwanted pregnancy will not offer protection against HPV transmission.
Avoid multiple sexual partners: For the same reason, one should avoid having multiple sexual partners. As the risk of getting an HPV infection is high.
Eat right: Eat fruits, beans, whole grains and vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli each day. They can aid in the restoration of the cells infected with HPV. Also, cruciferous vegetables are known to help the body develop immunity and fight different kinds of cancer.
Quit smoking: Smoking is known to be a risk factor for various types of cancer. In women, who smoke it just adds to be one more risk factor for cervical cancer. Quitting the butt cuts this risk to a great extent.
Go for screening: Consult your doctor for the Pap smear test as it can detect early cervical changes long before the cancer actually begins to develop. In this way, the right precautions can be taken to prevent the onset of cervical cancer.