Cancer of the cervix is one of the most preventable gynaecological cancers.
Since the National PAP Smear screening program was introduced, the number of Australian women suffering from cervical cancer has dropped dramatically.
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
The vast majority of cases are caused by a persistent infection of the cervix by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are many different types of HPV. Many are not associated with cervical cancer and are cleared like any other infection in the body. Some types, however, affect the cells of the cervix differently and can lead to cancer of the cervix over a period of time.
How can Cervical Cancer be prevented?
There are a number of ways to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer
1. Vaccination against HPV is now part of the immunisation schedule for young girls and boys. If you have not been immunised, then you should consider seeing your Health Care Provider to arrange this.
2. Regular PAP smear screening. It is currently recommended that screening should commence for any sexually active woman from the age of 18-20, or 2 years after commencing sexual activity, whichever is the later.
Early stage cervical cancer usually causes no symptoms so regular PAP screening is extremely important.
3. Stop smoking (and certainly don’t take it up!)
3. Use of barrier contraception
The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if you have further concerns.