We as women love to take care of everyone – of course, that’s our motherly instinct and selfless nature. But what about self-care, which we generally forgo and due to which we at times invite a lot of deadly diseases unknowingly. Cervical cancer is also one of them. Yes, you must be hearing a whole lot about it nowadays and one of the reasons could be that it has become the fourth most frequently occurring cancer in women.
In fact, research published in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology said that in India cervical cancer contributes to approximately 29% of all cancers in women.
The number one reason that you might be hit by this disease is the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). And unusual vaginal bleeding, pain in the pelvis, and pain during urination are some of the most common symptoms of cervical cancer. But before announcing them as culprits it’s always better to consult your gynae first – as a lot of myths are attached to this deadly disease.
So, to save you from any confusion here are five myths that you need to know about cervical cancer.
Myth 1: For cervical cancer, you need to take a Pap test annually.
Contrary belief, you don’t need to go in for a Pap smear every year. For women aged between 21 and 29, a Pap test needs to be done every three years. For women between 30 and 64 years, it is advised every five years.
Myth 2: Cervical cancer only happens in old age
Dear womaniya, here is some news for you: age is no bar when it comes to cervical cancer. It affects women of all ages and thus women need to be screened for it early on.
In fact, the American Cancer Society says that cervical cancer is rare in people under the age of 20 and most frequently diagnosed in people between the ages of 35 and 44. But still, you need to be cautious.
Myth 3: If you have cervical cancer then you will die for sure
Thankfully that’s a myth as early detection can save you. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cervical cancer can be prevented through vaccination, regular screening, and treatment of precancerous lesions. Timely treatment of early-stage cancer has a higher cure rate.
Women who are found to have abnormalities in screening need to follow-up with their doctor, followed by diagnosis, and treatment to prevent the development of cancer or to treat cancer at an early stage.
Myth 4: If you have a family history of cervical cancer then you will have it too.
Unlike breast cancer and ovarian cancer, cervical cancer is not genetic and instead is caused by the HPV infection. The WHO says that vaccination of adolescents against HPV is safe and prevents cervical cancer.
Myth 5: A surgery for cervical cancer can affect future pregnancies
Cervical cancer patients may undergo surgery to remove the womb through a radical hysterectomy and radiotherapy. People believe that the surgery will not allow a woman to be pregnant but there is the option of conservative surgery, which is undertaken for fertility preservation and reproductive capacity.
This is it, ladies. Please don’t believe everything you hear or read as it’s always better to be double sure. Visiting a gynae is the best thing you can do to get your facts clear about cervical cancer.