Prevention they say is better than cure. It is no different when it comes to fighting cervical cancer. In fact, women who have had constant screening for cervical cancer have a better chance to evade this dreadful monster.
Studies have shown that early detection of cervical cancer can actually be helpful to a point where one is completely cured.
As you contemplate about that, let me dig more about cervical cancer.
So, what is cancer of the cervix? Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix—the opening to the uterus. In many developing countries this form of cancer is very common. It is actually a major cause of cancer-related death.
It has been reported that cervical cancer related deaths have decreased over the years. This has mainly been attributed to increased use of screening tests which can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. Such screening can also find cervical cancer early—in its most curable stage.
Most cases are found in women younger than 50 years old. But it rarely occurs in women younger than 20. Most women who get cervical cancer have not had regular Pap tests or any screening Pap tests done. Therefore, all women should be screened regularly starting at age 21.
Even with improved detection, an estimated 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and, of that number, approximately one-third will die as a result of the cancer. No one clearly wants to be part of the statistics.
For that reason, I mentioned Pap tests early. Let me introduce you to it and how it works.
The Pap test is a very simple and important test. The healthcare provider uses the Pap test to see if there are any changes in the cervix.
The best time for a woman to have a Pap test is at least 5 days after her period. A Pap test can be done in a healthcare provider’s office or a health clinic.
The healthcare provider uses a tool called a speculum to hold the vagina open to see the upper part of the vagina and the cervix. Then a small brush is used to get some cells from the cervix and vagina. These cells are placed on a glass slide or in a solution.
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They are sent to a lab and checked under a microscope for abnormal cells.
Therefore, women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called co-testing) every 5 years.
Health care experts believe that regular check-up will continue to aid in fighting against cervical cancer.
Talk to your health care provider about what screening tests you need and how often you need them.
So, why don’t you take a few minutes and go for it?