June 11, 2021

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Don’t be surprised by cervical cancer

Photo: DS

Education and prevention are the most powerful tools in our health. January, the month in which we celebrate cervical cancer awareness, however our responsibility lies in being in full attention to our health care throughout the year.

Cervical cancer is the seventh most diagnosed cancer in women and 1 in 91 women born today in Puerto Rico could develop cervical cancer during their lifetime. In basic terms, cervical cancer begins in cells on the surface of the cervix and its development is usually very slow.

Said cancer -in its beginnings- is seen as a type of precancerous lesion known as dysplasia; in this phase it can be detected by a Pap smear and is highly treatable. However, it can take several years for dysplasia to develop into what we know as cervical cancer.

It has been shown that a high percentage of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have not undergone regular vaginal cytologies or have not given timely follow-up to abnormal results of such procedures.

According to the Central Cancer Registry of Puerto Rico, from 2000 to 2017, the incidence of cervical cancer has increased an average of 2.1% per year, while mortality has remained stable. It is estimated that 1 in 4 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in women between the ages of approximately 40 to 49 years and 1 in 5 cervical cancer deaths occurred between the ages of 60 to 69 years. In this article we share educational information based on scientific evidence about cervical cancer and so you can take action on your health.

Most common symptoms:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Unusual bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pelvic pain

Risk factor’s:

  • Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Number of sexual partners increases risk of HPV infection
  • Smoking and the use of birth control pills
  • Other sexually transmitted infections

The early detection tests used and recommended are the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test and the Papanicolaou (Pap) test. However, it is of utmost importance that HPV vaccination is considered within the action plans.

Do not hesitate to request information about them from your specialist doctor, in this way an early detection can be achieved in case of unplanned scenarios and thus increase the chance of survival and quality of life for you. The quality of life is of the utmost importance, since it can impact areas of your daily life.

Take action if you find that you are at high risk or exhibit any of the symptoms associated with such a condition. Taking the first step is everyone’s responsibility. Educate yourself and take action.

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