Health & Wellness Blog
Information posted is for information, entertainment, or educational purposes only. Nothing is intended to be medical advice or to replace the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
Cervical Health Awareness Month
Posted by Scott filed under Healthcare Observance
Every January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. This month was started to raise awareness and educate people on cervical health. Every year, thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. However, unlike some illnesses, cervical cancer is preventable. During this month, everyone should take some time to learn about cervical cancer to help prevent it.
Cervical cancer occurs in the lower part of the uterus, which is connected to the vagina. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is generally thought to play a large role in the cause of cervical cancer. The immune system usually keeps people same from HPV, but in some women, the virus can cause cervix cells to become cancerous. Cervical cancer progresses slowly, which helps in early detection.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
There are several risk factors which may increase your chance of developing cervical cancer, including:
- Early sexual activity
- Many sexual partners
- Having other STI’s
Cervical cancer tends to not show signs until later stages. When left untreated, symptoms of cervical cancer may include:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding; this is the most common symptom and may occur after intercourse and between menstrual periods
- Vaginal discharge, which may be watery, bloody, or foul smelling
- Back or pelvic pain
- Difficulty using the bathroom
- Unintended weight loss
Cervical cancer is a serious disease, but luckily, it is preventable. To prevent it, you should have regular Pap tests and HPV tests, and there is also a vaccine for HPV that can help prevent the disease. The best time to get an HPV vaccine is before you’re sexually active. Women can get the vaccine up until they turn 26; men can get it up until they turn 21 (Johnson). All women should aim to prevent cervical cancer, but women who are sexually active are at the most risk and should take the most precautionary measures. Maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking could also aid in prevention.
NOTE: The information in this article and links contained therein are intended to provide general information only and should not be used for diagnosing or treating any medical condition. If you are concerned about your health or suspect you may have an untreated illness or condition, please seek the advice of a medical professional.
National Cervical Cancer Coalition. “Cervical Health Awareness Month.” Retrieved from: http://www.nccc-online.org/hpvcervical-cancer/cervical-health-awareness-month/
Mayo Clinic. (2017). “Cervical cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervical-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352501
Johnson, Traci. (2018). “Can I Prevent Cervical Cancer?” Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer/understanding-cervical-cancer-prevention
Chun, Christina. (2018). “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/cervical-cancer/symptoms