Because cervical cancer can be prevented through screenings and vaccinations, deaths related to this disease have decreased by 50% over the past 30 years. With January being the National Cervical Cancer Awareness month, doctors hope that the general public will expand its knowledge pertaining to this disease.
Although newer screening tests and prevention methods have surfaced over the past few years, leading to a massive decline in death tolls related to cervical cancer, 4,000 women still died due to this illness from over 30,000 diagnosed cases. Fortunately, several vaccination treatments have also gained an increase in usage, thus leading to an even greater quelling of the onset of cervical cancer.
The cause of this cancer’s occurrence is mainly the human papillomavirus, or HPV, found in almost 50% of sexually active adults. The main issue in regards to HPV infection stems from the fact that symptoms rarely occur in infected patients. This could potentially lead to cervical cancer if the virus remains in the subject’s system for prolonged periods of time.
The main method of prevention is in the form of vaccination against HPV. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this vaccine should be administered to all citizens between the age of 11 and 12, although scientists claim that it can be done up to the age of 26. Even if the CDC puts the limit at the age of 12, that does not mean that teenagers or young adults shouldn’t opt for this method of prevention.
The treatment consists of three vaccine shots administered over the course of 6 months, in other words, once every two months. Once the age of 21 has been reached, the American Cancer Society urges every US citizen, especially women, to undergo regular cancer screenings. Once the first one is made when the patient is 21, the Pap test, the name of the screening process, should be administered once every three years in order for doctors to detect if any changes have occurred in the patient’s body.
The Pap test is comprised of non-invasive pelvic examination and the collection of a cell sample for the cervix. Besides being the most common and efficient way of detecting cervical cancer, the Pap test can also detect infections in the endocervix and the endometrium areas.
Bearing in mind the fact that cervical cancer can be prevented through screenings and vaccinations, hopefully, in the near future, the death toll of this dreaded disease will eventually reach 0. But until that point is reached, the general public must acknowledge that cervical cancer is still a problem in order to opt for a regular cancer screening so that any risk towards developing this illness is nipped in the bud.