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Dealing With Cervical Cancer: A Women's Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Campaign

Dealing With Cervical Cancer: A Women's Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Campaign undefined

Cancer is not the death sentence it used to be thanks to advances in the field of cancer treatments. While some cancers may not have a definite cure at present, some can be eliminated with early detection and prevention. Cervical Cancer is a striking example, which can be prevented with life-saving interventions like screening tests or vaccinations.

In light of the Women’s Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Campaign 2019 by the Singapore Cancer Society, this article aims to highlight the role of early detection and prevention in fighting cancer. Here are some facts concerning cervical cancer and what you can do to prevent it.

Also read the Cancer Focus Vol 1 2019 on Women's Cancer from Singapore Cancer Society.

 

What Is Cervical Cancer?

diagram of cervix cancer in various stages

Cervical Cancer is a type of Gynecological Cancer, which is a common cause for all malignant disease in women. This cancer forms in the tissues of the neck of the womb known as the Cervix, which is the organ connecting the uterus and the vagina. [1]

In a 2015 Annual Registry Report by Singapore Cancer Registry, Cervical Cancer was termed the 10th most common cancer affecting Singaporean women. Though Cervical Cancer is a highly curable disease, cervical cancer can affect the vital organs of a women’s body which explains why early detection is key in preventing cervical cancer. [2]

 

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Is The Main Cause Of Cervical Cancer

illustration of infection by hpv

The most common resulting factor of a Cervical Cancer is an HPV infection at the cervix, which causes abnormal cells to appear in the cervical tissue. This is also known as dysplasia where the cells of the cervix undergo changes. Over time, the abnormal cells, if left untreated, may become cancer cells and start to spread deeper into the cervix and its surrounding areas. [3]

What Is The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of common viruses that causes infections in both men and women, some of which are spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. There are two groups of HPV, namely:

High-Risk HPV: are cancer-causing types of HPV which attributes to 70% of cervical cancer.

  • HPV16
  • HPV18

Low-Risk HPV: are non-cancer causing HPVs.

  • HPV6
  • HPV11

HPV infections are common conditions that affect almost all sexually active individuals and half of these infections are of a high-risk HPV type. As such it is of paramount importance for women to be vigilant of the possible signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. [3]

 

Are There Any Signs Or Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer That Will Help With Early Detection?

woman holding belly area

While there are usually no noticeable signs of cervical cancer during the early stages, women diagnosed with cervical cancer have experienced the following signs or symptoms: [4]

  • Irregular or Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding
  • Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
  • Pain experienced during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Postmenopausal Bleeding

 

HPV Vaccination Can Help To Prevent Cervical Cancer

woman receiving hpv vaccination

HPV Vaccination is one way to prevent HPV infection including the types of HPV that are linked to HPV-related cancers. The vaccine is recommended for use in young women age between 9 and 26 years old and will be the most effective if the vaccine is administered to women before their first sexual exposure. [1]

There May Be Some Possible Side Effects After An HPV Vaccination

Individuals who have received an HPV Vaccination should be aware of the following side effects that may arise:

  • Soreness at the site of injection
  • Fever
  • Headache

Individuals who experience any of these side effects should inform their doctor immediately. [4]

 

Regular Cervical Cancer Screening Can Also Help Prevent Cervical Cancer

infographics on pelvic screenings

As emphasized, early detection is key when it comes to the prevention of cervical cancer and a better prognosis. Besides getting vaccinated for HPV infections, women should also vigilantly go for cervical cancer screenings such as HPV Test and PAP Test. [1]

What Is The Difference Between PAP Test And HPV Test?

Both tests are effective in detecting abnormal cell changes that may result in cervical cancer. The difference lies with the method of execution as well as the age and frequency of test recommended for use in women.

 While a Pap test involves the use of a microscope to detect any abnormalities in the cells collected from the surface of the cervix and vagina, an HPV test involves a laboratory test of the cells taken from the cervix to identify any presence of cancer-causing HPV types.

It is recommended for women between 25 and 29 years old to undergo Pap Test once every 3 years. As for HPV Tests, women who are 30 years and above should go for a test once every 5 years. [1][5]

 

Where Should I Have My Screening Done?

singapore cancer society logo
Source: https://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/

One can take advantage of screening programs available in Singapore. In attempt to reduce the incidence of Cervical Cancer, Singapore Cancer Society is offering complimentary HPV Vaccination and cervical cancer screening services to eligible females who meet the following criteria: [1]

HPV Vaccination

  • Singaporean
  • Aged between 9 and 13 years
  • With a Valid Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) Card

HPV Test

  • Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Aged 30 years and above with a prior engagement of sexual intercourse
  • Not Pregnant
  • Screening to be done 14 days from 1st day of menstrual cycle
  • Recommended to be screened once in 5 years

Pap Test

  • Singaporean or Permanent Resident
  • Aged between 25 and 29 years with a prior engagement of sexual intercourse
  • Not Pregnant
  • Screening to be done 14 days from 1st day of menstrual cycle
  • Recommended to be screened once in 3 years


To schedule a visit with the Singapore Cancer Society for any screening or vaccination services,

 


 

Singapore Cancer Society is a self-funded voluntary welfare organization committed to reducing the impact of cancer through public education, provision of screening and patient services, financial assistance as well as research and advocacy.

 

 

Would you like to ask any related health questions?

You can Ask A Doctor right away, or view the complete list of DxD Sessions.

 


References

1. Gynaecological Cancers. Accessed June 17, 2019.

2. Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015 National Registry of Diseases Office (NRDO). Accessed June 17, 2019.

3. HPV and Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Published 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019.

4. Women’s Gynaecological Cancer Campaign. Singaporecancersociety.org.sg. Published 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019.

5. Cervical Cancer Treatment. National Cancer Institute. Published 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019.

226 views 17 Jun 2019 Medically reviewed by Singapore Cancer Society on 3 Jul 2019.
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