Cervical cancer is regarded to be the most common type of cancer worldwide and the most common in Indian women. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus(womb) and is the bridge between the uterus and the vagina (birth canal).
Cervix has two types of cells – endocervix and the exocervix. The meeting point of these two cells is named the transformation zone. This space can change with the increase in the age of the women or after childbirth. Cervical cancer begins in the cells lining the cervix in the transformation zone.
Types of Cervical Cancer
There are different types of cervical cancer in women:
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common type of cervical cancer, which develops in squamous cells on the endocervix. This is the outer part of the cervix that can be seen by the doctor during a speculum exam.
- Adenocarcinoma: This type of cervical cancer progresses from the glandular cells that line the endocervix. The endocervix is the opening of the cervix that leads into the uterus. Since this cancer starts in the cervical canal, it becomes more difficult to detect it during the cervical screening test.
- Adenosquamous Carcinoma or Mixed Carcinoma– This cancer is less common and sustains features of both squamous cell carcinoma & adenocarcinoma.
Cervical cancer usually develops during the middle age of an individual. It is initiated by one abnormal cell and symptoms are not apparent until the cervical cells become cancerous and start spreading to other tissues. Due to undefined reasons for cells turning cancerous, the condition is hard to detect initially. This only leads to a final solution of cervical pain.
Cervical Cancer Risk Factors
There are few risks involved that can lead to cervical cancer. They are:
- Indulging in any sexual activity before 18 years
- Having multiple sexual partners or being sexually involved with someone whose previous partner had cervical cancer
- Personal history of sexually transmitted viruses such as herpes infection or HPV
- An individual who had more than three pregnancies in a lifetime
- An individual who has a weak immune system
- A person involved in excessive smoking
- Long term use of oral contraceptives without consultation
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer?
Here are a few tips that can help you prevent cervical cancer:
1. Treating Cervical Pre-Cancer– As mentioned before, cancer starts in the cells lining the transformation zone, but those cells do not suddenly convert into the tumour. In fact, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop abnormal changes that are called pre-cancerous. Only a few women with pre-cancerous cells will develop cancer and this can vanish without treatment. Therefore, it is advised to treat cervical pre-cancer on time. This will eradicate the chances of cervical cancer.
2. Stop the Use of Tobacco– Excessive smoking is a cause of many types of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, kidney and cervix. Any type of tobacco use, either smoking or chewing, is harmful to human health on dangerous levels. If you want to live a cancer-free life, extracting tobacco out of your life is the most crucial step. Even second-hand tobacco can cause harm to your body.
3. Practice Safe Sex– Practicing safe sex means using condoms and dental dams during sexual intercourse. Additionally, it is advised to limit the number of sexual partners. The more the number of sexual partners, the higher the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection such as HIP or HPV, which increases the risk of cervical cancer.
4. Choose Sexual Partners Wisely– Your sexual health is in your hands and you should be aware of your partner’s health too. Avoid having sexual intercourse with people who have too many partners. This is crucial because the person who had come in contact with someone with cervical cancer can indirectly be harmful to your health too.
5. Age for Sexual Intercourse– We are aware that early age sex is one of the risk factors for cervical cancer. So, try delaying sexual relationship with an individual until the late teens or older.
6. Avoid Used Needles– It is advised to avoid sharing needles with anyone who uses excessive arterial drugs. This can eventually lead to HIV and increase the risk of cancer.
7.Consume a Healthy Diet– A healthy diet is always the best and easiest way to avert many diseases. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your daily diet. While adding meats to your diet, try limiting processed meats. If you are adding alcohol to your routine, do so moderately. Also read Celebrity Diet on this website.
8.Stay Physically Active and Maintain a Healthy Weight– It has been observed that adults who have sincerely added at least thirty minutes of physical activity in their routine have improved their physical and mental health. If you want to avoid severe diseases like cancer, follow a regular exercise routine.
9. Avoid Stress– Due to changing times, lifestyles and mostly personal day-to-day issues, it is very difficult to be stress-free. But there are certain ways to annihilate stress from your life. Practising yoga, doing meditation or any other therapy that works with your stress levels can exponentially help in improving your physical health.
10.Regular Screening– For early detection of any type of cervical cancer possibility, get screened regularly and undergo the required tests. These include HPV test, PAP test and Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA).
11.Get Vaccinated– Cancer prevention involves protection from viral infections of contracted diseases. Consult your doctor and get vaccinated.
Following these tips and consulting your doctor would help you improve your life and you can avoid life-threatening diseases like cervical cancer.