Cervical Cancer Awareness: because it matters

aboni_nasir

Cancer does not have a face until it’s yours or someone you know. Unfortunately the Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in cancer in Bangladesh. More than 50 percent of those diagnosed with the disease will die from it. There are thirteen thousand woman die every year in Cervical Cancer in Bangladesh.

The Cervical Cancer is a deadly cancer that clutches lives of the women in most of the cases due to lack of consciousness in the developing countries also. More than 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer each year, and more than 4,000 of women dies. Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer among women aged 15–34 and is accountable for

16% of all cancers diagnosed in this age group. Unlike the majority of cancers, it is primarily a disease of the young with 62% of registrations in those aged 50 or below.

Sometimes you get to choose your battle and sometimes the battle chooses you. Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer can happen to any person, of any age, both genders, and every race.  Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

Do we know what causes Cervical Cancer? In recent years, there has been a lot of progress in understanding what happens in cells of the cervix when cancer develops. In addition, several risk factors have been identified that increase the odds that a woman might develop Cervical Cancer. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is found in about 99% of Cervical Cancers. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause Cervical Cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms.

What are the risk factors for Cervical Cancer? Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer. Several other risk factors that increases your chance of developing Cervical Cancer include: HPV infection, smoking, immunosuppression, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, being overweight, long-term use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills), being younger than 17 at your first full-term pregnancy, economic status, etc. However, it is still important to know about risk factors that cannot be changed, because it’s even more important for women who have these factors to get regular Pap tests to detect Cervical Cancer early.

The bad news is that Cervical Cancer can be difficult to detect at home. Unlike, say, breast or testicular cancer, which is often detected by a lump, cervical cancer is usually slow-growing, with few symptoms. However, the best protection is early detection. The symptoms of Cervical Cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s so important to get a regular Pap test to ensure early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions.

Cervical Cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide. In Bangladesh, 50.19 million women are at risk of Cervical Cancer and the annual incidence number is 17.686 cases. Cervical Cancer covers about 22.4% of all cancers. You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer, it’s a mindset. It is crucial to strengthen your body and acquire good lifestyle habits as early as possible to minimize your individual risk. HPV vaccine and regular Pap tests work together to prevent Cervical Cancer in women. Having a Pap test check for abnormal cells in the cervix or test to check for HPV can find cells that may become cervical cancer. And vaccination prevents most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus. The vaccine works to prevent infection, but can’t kill the infection once it’s present. Cervical Cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer if it is found in the early stages.

The emotional toll of dealing with HPV is often as difficult as the medical aspects and can be more awkward to address. But you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. So fight like hell to prevent and cure Cervical Cancer. And don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about the stuff happening down there, such as irregular bleeding, new discharge, or pain with intercourse. That uncomfortable conversation could save your life.

 Aboni Nasir is a graduate pharmacist. She has completed her gradation under department of pharmacy of East West University. She has interest on public health and recent health issues. She can be reached at aboni.nasir92@gmail.com

 

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