Cervical cancer continues to affect women across the globe and although mortality rates have declined over the years — thanks largely to the Pap screening — it is still one of the most common cancers found in women.
Protect your health, here’s what you need to know about the “silent killer:”
The HPV Risk Factor
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most significant risk factors for cervical cancer and is primarily contracted through sexual contact. Women can help prevent getting HPV by practicing safe sex.
While there are over 100 forms of HPV, the HPV16 and HPV18 strains are most linked to cervical cancer. Especially if you're sexually active, it's important to be diligent about screenings and to talk honestly with your doctor.
The good news about HPV? It’s very preventable. Since being introduced in 2006, the HPV vaccine has saved generations of women from a devastating cervical cancer diagnosis.
It’s important to check with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for the vaccine, as there are age limits and restrictions.
No Early Warning Signs
Cervical cancer is referred to as the “silent killer” as it presents no warning signs in its early stages. Forgoing yearly exams can decrease your chances of early detection, thus leaving cancer to grow without warning.
Staying on top of your annual visits and regular pap tests is critical to cancer prevention. If you are a woman over the age of 21, pap tests should be included in your preventive care routine.
Other Risk Factors
Women should know that there are several key risk factors when it comes to cervical cancer. A woman may be at an increased risk if she:
- Has a close relative, like a mother, sister, or aunt, who has been diagnosed with cervical cancer.
- Used oral contraceptives (the pill) for several years.
- Smokes or drinks to excess
- Knowledge is always the best weapon against disease and healthy living can be a breeze when you know what to look out for!
From pap tests to medical evaluations, we are proud to offer our patients full-service care. When all of your healthcare needs are taken care of in one location, you benefit from doctors who are familiar with your family’s medical history, allowing them to more efficiently diagnose and treat conditions.
For more information on how the KMC team can help you, contact us today!