Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is a global healthcare event observed for the entire month of January every year, with an aim to raise awareness of cervical cancer globally. This year’s theme states “Learn. Prevent. Screen”. It emphasizes the necessity of educating people with knowledge about minimizing cervical cancer risks and the life-saving importance of regular screenings. Understanding cervical cancer goes beyond awareness. It’s about arming ourselves with knowledge that can save lives as below;
Cervical cancer is primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The risk factors for cervical cancer include; having multiple sexual partners, smoking, family history of cervical cancer, a weakened immune system, and including certain lifestyle choices increasing susceptibility.
In terms of the mechanism of the disease, the HPV infection triggers changes in cervical cells, leading to abnormal growth and, if untreated, the potential development of cancerous cells.
Whereas the early signs of cervical cancer may be asymptomatic (not showing symptoms), women need to keep an eye out for symptoms like abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, unusual discharge, and discomfort during sexual intercourse, which could indicate cervical cancer.
In diagnostics, there are exams done for confirmation of cervical cancer. Early detection is key! Regular Pap smears, HPV tests, colposcopy, and biopsies help in confirming and assessing the extent of cervical cancer.
In the management of cervical cancer, treatment varies based on the stage of cancer and can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination to effectively combat the disease.
It’s paramount to note that prevention is our strongest defence. Vaccination against HPV, regular cervical cancer screenings, practising safe sex, and limiting sexual partners play pivotal roles in reducing the risk of cervical cancer.
Conclusively, let’s spread this vital information about cervical cancer, empower each other, and prioritize our health. Together, we can take proactive steps toward prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.
The author is; Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima; BSc Nurse & MSN-Midwife & Women’s’ Health Specialist
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