Symptoms of early stage cervical cancer and its prevention

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Symptoms of early stage cervical cancer and its prevention
Symptoms of early stage cervical cancer and its prevention

Cervical cancer is often treated too late because the symptoms are realized too late. In fact, if the symptoms of early stage cervical cancer can be detected early and treated immediately, the chances of recovery will be greater

Cervical cancer is cancer that grows in cells in the cervix. This cancer is generally caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is transmitted through sexual intercourse, either copulation or penetration or oral sex.

In addition to infection with the HPV virus, there are other risk factors that can make a woman more at risk of cervical cancer, namely:

  • Having more than one sexual partner
  • Smoking
  • Has a sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes, genital warts, and HIV/AIDS

Long-term use of birth control pills is also said to increase the risk of cervical cancer. However, this assumption still needs to be confirmed by further research.

Symptoms of Early Stage Cervical Cancer

Symptoms of early-stage cervical cancer are difficult to recognize. This is because early-stage cervical cancer often does not cause any complaints or symptoms. When it appears, the symptoms are not typical and can resemble the symptoms of other diseases.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are usually only seen when cervical cancer has entered an advanced stage, where cancer cells have spread to surrounding tissues.

However, there are some signs and symptoms that can be suspected as early symptoms of cervical cancer, namely:

  • Bleeding from the vagina outside of menstrual periods, after sex, after a pelvic exam, or after menopause
  • Watery discharge, brown in color, mixed with blood, and has a foul smell
  • Pelvic or back pain that doesn't subside
  • Pain when urinating or having sex
  • There is blood in the urine

If you experience some of the symptoms above, you should immediately consult a gynecologist.

How to Reduce the Risk of Cervical Cancer

To reduce the risk of cervical cancer, there are several things that can be done, namely:

1. Perform cervical screening or pap smear

Conducting regular pelvic examinations and pap smears to the doctor is one of the recommended ways to detect cervical cancer early. Through this examination, the doctor can find out if there are abnormalities in the cells of the cervix.

Pap smear examination is recommended every 3 years for women aged 21–29 years, and every 3-5 years for women aged 30–65 years.

If the results of the examination point to the possibility of cervical cancer, the doctor will confirm it by carrying out further examinations, namely colposcopy and biopsy.

2. Avoid risky sexual behavior

To reduce the risk of cervical cancer, it is important to practice safe sex. The trick is not to change partners and use condoms during sexual intercourse. If you want to have unprotected sex, make sure your partner doesn't have a sexually transmitted disease.

3. Perform cervical cancer vaccination (HPV vaccine)

Recommendations for giving the HPV vaccine are as follows:

  • Given to girls from the age of 10-13 years with repeated doses up to 3 times within 6 months
  • If the HPV vaccination is given for the first time when the child is 13 years old, then the dose is repeated 2 times within 1 year

If you have never received the HPV vaccine at the age of a child or teenager, then the HPV vaccine can be given at an adult age according to the doctor's consideration.

However, you need to remember, the HPV vaccine only reduces the risk of cervical cancer and does not guarantee you are 100% protected from this cancer. You are still advised to undergo a pap smear to detect cancer early and avoid risky sexual behavior.

4. Quitting smoking habit

Smoking or frequent inhalation of secondhand smoke (passive smoking) can make women more susceptible to cervical cancer. Therefore, immediately stop smoking and avoid cigarette smoke.

Because the symptoms of early stage cervical cancer are not typical and even often occur without symptoms, you need to have regular screening checks to the doctor, especially if you have a risk of getting this disease.If symptoms appear, immediately consult a gynecologist, no need to wait for the next routine examination schedule.

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