According to the American Cancer Society, over 4000 women will die from cervical cancer this year. While cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, numbers are quickly decreasing as prevention techniques are improving. Regular tests can help women catch cervical cancer warning signs early on and adjust their lifestyles accordingly. Early testing can also help lead to early cancer treatments, improving the odds of survival. Use these techniques to help prevent the spread of cervical cancer.
Reducing Your Cancer Risks
Reducing your risk of cancer can be as simple as changing your eating habits. While some other lifestyle choices can increase your risk, such as smoking, a healthy diet can be one of the most proactive actions you can take. Avoid foods that are known to cause cancer and follow a healthy diet plan. Regular exercise can also help to reduce your risk of cancer.
HPV infections can also lead to more serious forms of cancer. Using condoms during sex and limiting the number of sexual partners a person has can reduce their risk of exposure. While HPV infections can occur in both covered and uncovered regions, using a condom can still reduce your risk overall.
Keep in mind that cervical cancer can also be inherited, so you will need to be screened regularly for signs.
What is a Pap Test?
A Pap test, also known as a Pap Smear, looks for signs of cancer. The technician will look at cells on the cervix and note changes that should be made. If there are no cell changes that are out of the ordinary, the odds that you will get cervical cancer will be low.
Pap Smears are ordered by a doctor. Typically, a doctor will start recommending pap tests once a woman turns 21. If the results of the first test are normal, the doctor usually won’t order another test for three years. Getting these tests done regularly can help your doctor see signs of cancer in its early stages of development.
If the pap test showed abnormal activity, the doctor can provide you with further instructions. In some cases, a LEEP Procedure, or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, can be performed right away to remove the abnormal cells on the cervix.
Other Prevention Techniques
While screening is the key to detecting cancer, it is also important to prevent cancer using vaccines. Two HPV vaccines are available to help protect women against cervical cancer. Even if you get the vaccine, you will still need to get regular pap tests and follow a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risks.
Reducing your risks of cancer completely can be difficult. Getting regular screenings and following known prevention techniques can help reduce your risk as much as possible. To learn more about cervical cancer prevention, contact Advanced OBGYN Associates today.