By Engracia S. Arceo, MPH, RMT
Cervical cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer affecting women. Because the illness presents non-specific to no symptoms at all, not all women are familiar with it. Some of the early signs include excessive vaginal bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, weight loss, pelvic pain and abnormal discharges. Since prevention is always better than cure, here are the things you can do to protect yourself.
The human papiloma virus (HPV) is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. As an infectious disease, HPV is highly preventable. Delaying the sexual intercourse, limiting the number of sexual partners and the use of condoms are efficient ways to avoid the infection.
Another way to prevent HPV infection is through vaccination. Currently, this is available in many health care facilities in different countries. Although it cannot give a 100% protection against cervical cancer, it can lessen your risks in acquiring it.
Pap smear is a preliminary test for cervical cancer. It should be done by all women who reach 21 years old or as soon as a woman engages in vaginal intercourse. The test should be done yearly during the reproductive years.
The combination of these three factors is sufficient to keep yourself protected. Ask your doctor for more advise if you think you have it.