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Cervical Cancer Is Most Found Among Women: Importance Of Pap Smear Screening Tests

Know the early signs and symptoms of cervical cancer.

Written by Tavishi Dogra |Updated : January 31, 2023 11:12 AM IST

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2023: Cervical cancer forms in the cervix connecting the uterus and the vagina, and the cells in the cervix undergo dysplasia, where abnormal growth of cells affects the deeper tissues of the cervix. When the abnormal growth isn't treated during the earlier stages, it slowly begins to grow profoundly and acts on the other parts of the body, like the lungs, liver, bladder, vagina, and rectum.

Cervical Cancer Risk Factors

Three potential risk factors of cervical cancer by Dr Asha Hiremath, Consultant-Obstetrician, Gynaecologist & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bangalore-

1. Sexual history: Numerous factors play a crucial role when it comes to being in contact with HPV, which leads to the formation of cervical cancer. Such as-

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  • Being sexually active at the age of 18 or earlier.
  • Having multiple sexual partners.
  • Unprotected sex leads to other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS, increasing the risk of HPV.

2. A weakened immune system: Strong immune system destroys the cancerous cells that may be growing in the body. Exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV contracted by sexual intercourse or another health condition weakens the immune system resulting in cervical cancer during the later stages.

3. Smoking: Smoking weakens the immune system, which may further lead to squamous cell cervical cancer.

Preventive Measures By Dr Asha Hiremath

To reduce your risk of cervical cancer, these preventive measures can be followed:

Pap screening tests: Pap tests are a common test to determine changes in the cells which lead to cervical cancer. Most medical organisations suggest routine Pap tests at age 21 to detect early symptoms.

Practising safe sex: Protected sex reduces the risk of being exposed to sexually transmitted infections which may later lead to cervical cancer. Limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms during sexual intercourse should be actively practised to prevent cervical cancer.

Avoid smoking: Cigarettes contain toxic substances which can weaken the immune system making it difficult for the body to fight cancer cells. In addition, these toxic substances can damage the cell's DNA which may lead to cervical cancer.

Pap Smear Tests And Their Importance

A pap smear test is a common screening procedure to detect cervical cancer in women. It involves collecting a sample of cells from the cervix, which connects the uterus and the vagina. A Pap smear test aims to identify abnormalities or changes in the cervical cells that may develop into cervical cancer. Detecting the cellular changes in the cervix during the earlier stages may prevent the cancer cells from spreading to the other parts of the body. It is advisable to do routine screening from 25 at your nearest clinic or hospital.

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