Cervical Cancer: The Best Form of Prevention Is To Be Informed And Aware

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Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women and the leading cause of death among women in underdeveloped countries. In fact, 500,000 cases are diagnosed each year worldwide. This particular cancer is found mainly in middle-aged to older women; it is very rare to find it in women age fifteen and younger. The average age of women with cervical cancer is age 50-55; however, the cancer begins to appear in women in their twenties (2). It is also found in women of lower-class areas, as they are not able to see a gynecologist to be screened. African American, Hispanic, and Native American women are more prone to developing cervical cancer as well (1).

The cervix is an organ in the female reproductive system; it is the entrance
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Also, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) increases the likelihood of the precancerous cells developing into cancer. This occurs because HIV weakens the immune system, and a woman with HIV is unable to fight off HPV and precancerous abnormalities (2). Scientists have also found that smokers are possibly twice as likely to develop cervical cancer. Cigarettes release many chemicals that cause cancer (1). When a woman smokes a cigarette, these chemicals enter her bloodstream, and they are carried to all parts of the body. These chemicals are also believed to damage the DNA in cervical cells (2). Scientists are also examining the effects of Oral Contraceptives. No direct links have been found, but there is some statistical evidence showing that women that have taken Oral Contraceptives for over five years have a low risk of developing the cancer (2).

Often there are no symptoms while developing the cancer. For this reason, it is extremely important for a woman to have an annual Pap smear test, as this is the only way to detect any kind of abnormalities. The Pap smear evaluates the cells of the cervix under a microscope. It looks for three signs: (a) inflammation of the cells, (b) the amount of estrogen in the cells and (c) the presence of precancerous cells. The test is 90-95% accurate in finding an abnormality…

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