While there are many exciting breakthroughs in the world of science and medicine that could lead to a cure being found for cancer, it's likely that they're still a little way off. In the meantime, it's very important for people who are at risk or who are advised to keep an eye open to be screened for various types of cancer as necessary. One of the most prevalent across Australia, unfortunately, is cervical cancer, which can strike a woman at any age but primarily in the peak years of life. If you don't know much about this, what is it and what should you do to protect yourself?
When detected, cervical cancer is found at the top of the womb, where it is connected to the vagina. It typically develops following a sexually transmitted infection known as HPV, although it does not affect all those who have contracted this infection. Indeed, most women will contract HPV during their life at some point, but it will usually clear up by itself without any intervention.
Problems usually arise when the body is unable to clear up the virus and abnormal cells develop. Some of these may become cancerous with time, and unfortunately, not all of these will present obvious symptoms.
When symptoms do present themselves, it's normally in the form of vaginal bleeding, which may occur soon after having sex. If you notice bleeding at other times which is not associated with monthly periods, this may be another indication. You may also find it uncomfortable to have sex and notice a discharge from the vagina. Always remember, however, that all the aforementioned symptoms may not be related to cervical cancer at all and could be just the result of an infection.
Across the country, solutions like the National Cervical Screening Program are in place to help women determine whether or not they have any issues, and these screening tests should be followed without question by individuals in certain age groups. These screens are meant to look for abnormalities in cervical cells and you will be asked to visit a specialist for further tests should anything arise.
Thankfully, it's certainly possible to achieve a complete cure if cervical cancer is diagnosed early enough. If you're unfortunate enough to contract this type of cancer than it may be necessary to remove the abnormal cells or opt for other forms of surgery as recommended by the specialist.
Get in touch with your local health care clinic to make sure that you schedule your screening visits.