Preventing and Understanding Cervical Cancer

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                                 Preventing and Understanding Cervical Cancer
Besides commemorating International Women’s Day 2024, a seemingly unrelated question at a public sensitization organized by the Grassroots Advocacy Centre for Economic Development on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants was the remote catalyst for writing this article. Someone had wanted to know whether those women trafficked for prostitution were at risk of developing cervical cancer. Of course, there is a lot to discuss on the health challenges faced by victims of human trafficking. Cervical cancer alone deserves sufficient attention and elucidation for the benefit of parents, young women, and men.

The Issue

Worldwide, women are impacted by cervical cancer, a serious health issue brought on by the unchecked proliferation of cells in the cervix. Despite a decrease in mortality over time as a result of improvements in screening and treatment, it is still the primary cause of cancer-related fatalities for women in many developing nations. To lessen the impact of cervical cancer on women’s health worldwide, awareness-raising campaigns that emphasize the disease’s causes and prevention are essential.
Comprehending Cervical Cancer
When untreated, aberrant alterations in the cervix’s cells can lead to cervical cancer, which usually grows slowly over a few years. Cervical cancer is mostly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. Cervical cancer is not necessarily the result of HPV infections, since smoking, immune system deterioration, and early initiation of sexual activity are risk factors that might contribute to the disease’s development.
The fact that early-stage cervical cancer frequently shows no symptoms emphasizes how crucial routine screening is. The symptoms of the condition might worsen over time and include pain during sexual activity, pelvic pain, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Early discovery through screening testing greatly increases the likelihood of effective therapy.
Preventive Techniques
Cervical cancer can be prevented by a multimodal strategy that combines lifestyle changes, screening, and immunization. The following are important methods for avoiding cervical cancer:
1. HPV Vaccination:                                                                                                                                                           Cervical cancer can be effectively prevented by receiving an HPV vaccination. It is advised that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine before starting a sexual relationship, usually between the ages of 11 and 12. Adults who have never been vaccinated up to age 26 may also receive vaccinations.

2. Regular Screening:
Early identification and treatment of abnormal cervical cells before they proceed to cancer depend on routine cervical cancer screening, such as the Pap smear and HPV test. Women’s healthcare professionals should talk to them about their screening schedule according to their age, risk factors, and the outcome of past screening exercises.
3. Safe Sexual Practices:
Using condoms consistently and limiting the number of partners you have sex with lowers your chance of contracting HPV and other STDs linked to cervical cancer.
4. Quitting Smoking:
Smoking raises the chance of cervical cancer as well as other health issues. Giving up smoking enhances general health in addition to lowering the chance of cervical cancer.
5. Healthy Lifestyle:
Upholding a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise boost the immune system and lower the chance of acquiring cervical cancer.
6. Sensitization and Awareness:
Encouraging women to give their reproductive health priority requires increasing knowledge about cervical cancer and how to prevent it. Towards this end, sensitization campaigns should emphasize debunking myths and false information about cervical cancer, emphasizing the value of routine screening and immunization, and enabling women to take preventative action.
Programmes for community education, seminars, and outreach can offer important information on risk factors for cervical cancer, screening recommendations, and resources for treatment and prevention. Reaching underprivileged communities can be facilitated by collaborating with advocacy organizations, community leaders, and healthcare professionals.

In conclusion, early diagnosis of cervical cancer with screening and immunization can save lives. It is a preventable illness. We can enable women to take charge of their health and lessen the impact of cervical cancer globally by increasing awareness, advocating preventative measures, and encouraging candid conversations about the condition. Working together, we can make progress toward a time when women’s health is not seriously threatened by cervical cancer.