One of the few cancers that are almost entirely preventable is cervical cancer. Over the past few decades, the mortality rate from this illness has decreased by more than half. Why? It all comes down to being able to prevent the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus or HPV. Cervical cancer is most frequently caused by HPV, though this is not always the case. Despite having HPV, many people do not develop cervical cancer.
But some of the most dangerous HPV strains are the focus of a vaccine. Additionally, gynecologists regularly carry out Pap smear tests, which can find almost all forms of cervical cancer. They might also conduct an HPV test. Therefore, you must attend all of your doctor’s appointments. Before cancer develops, your cervix can discover abnormal cells in your cervix by your Pap or HPV tests. Additionally, you can alter your lifestyle to reduce your risk of contracting HPV and, thus, your likelihood of developing cervical cancer. A few recommendations for lowering your risk of cervical cancer are as follows:
- Follow up on Pap smear abnormalities
Your doctor will treat you if an infection is present and order another Pap test later. Your doctor will order additional tests if the physical exam or Pap test indicates something other than an infection. An HPV DNA test, which can find HPV on a woman’s cervix, may also be used by doctors in some situations where women had previously received abnormal Pap test results.
- Sex should be safe
Numerous sexual partners increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer and HPV development. Additionally, if you engage in sexual activity, use a condom each time. Unprotected sex puts you at risk of acquiring STDs that can raise your risk of HPV and significantly increase your chances of developing cervicogenic precancerous changes.
But while condoms help to reduce the risk of contracting HPV-related illnesses, such as cervical cancer, be aware that condoms may not fully protect against HPV because HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom. It is crucial to use condoms in addition to getting the HPV vaccine for this reason.
- Obtain regular Pap tests
By using Pap tests, doctors can identify abnormal changes in your cervix’s cells and take preventative measures before cervical cancer manifests. Beginning at age 21, women should get a Pap test at least once every three years. As long as you undergo HPV testing with your Pap and the results are negative, we advise getting pap smears every five years after you turn 30. Additionally, a gynecologist should assess any bleeding during sexual activity. Many of these women have never had the exam is even more concerning.
- Give up smoking
Cervical cancer is twice as likely to develop if you smoke cigarettes. According to studies, tobacco byproducts alter the DNA of cervix cells, which may help to cause cervical cancer.
- Obtain a vaccine
There are two vaccines, Cervix and Gardasil, that can protect against the HPV strains that most frequently result in cervical and anal cancer in males. The dosage schedule will be discussed with you by your doctor. However, the vaccine can still protect you from other HPV types even if you’ve already contracted one or more.