Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix and hence only applicable to women. It also happens to be one of the most common cancers of the world with the rate being astonishingly high especially in India. But surprisingly it also happens to be one of the very few cancers that are almost preventable.
Human Pappillomavirus or what is popularly known as HPV, which is sexually transmitted stands as the top cause of cervical cancer. If you are sexually active, every few months schedule a doctor’s appointment to get yourself tested for abnormal cells that may potentially cause the cancer to start.
Here’s what you need to do:
- PAP test: Also called the pap smear test, it involves your gynaecologist taking a sample of your cervical cells to determine if some of them could potentially ead towards cancer. It is one of the easiest ways to be sure and prevent the unfortunate cancer. It’s easy and doesn’t require any scary procedure. While you could do it every few months to be extra sure, you definitely must do it every three years up to the age of thirty and then every three to five years till the age of sixty-five.
- HPV test: Mostly recommended post the age of thirty, the doctors recommend it if the pap test shows presence of some abnormal cells. Not every one with HPV gets cervical cancer but the risk is very high and its best to be careful and take all preventive measures.
- HPV vaccine: Out of the numerous types of HPV, two of them are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. It is ideal to take the vaccine before you get sexually active, although you could take it later too.
Other factors include having selected few sexual partners who themselves don’t have many sexual partners so that your risk of being exposed to HPV is the least. Using a condom helps as well and so do doctor recommended birth control pills. Smokers are twice as likely to get cervical cancer so they need to be extra careful.
I understand that Indian parents are particularly paranoid about sexual activities of their daughters and though you believe that your daughter isn’t or shouldn’t be sexually active premaritally, it is still your responsibility to get her vaccinated because would you rather risk her life at the cost of your own subjective morals and values? It’s something to think about.