Regular exams can detect early cervical cancer signs
Cervical health should be right up there with heart health, exercise, watching our weight, and regular check-ups with our doctor. With regular cervix checkups, women can greatly reduce their risk of Cervical Dysplasia, Cervicitis, and Cervical Cysts and Polyps, all of which can lead to Cervical Cancer.
Cervix disorders women experience
The cervix plays an important role in women’s health and is a vital part of pregnancy, but certain disorders and cancers can cause problems with cervix health.
The most common cervical disorders include:
- Cervical Dysplasia
- Cervical Cysts and Polyps
These cervical disorders can lead to cervical cancer if left untreated.
Cervical Dysplasia is when there are abnormal cells in the cervix that are not cancerous. Most mild cases of Cervical Dysplasia require no treatment, but severe cases that are left untreated can lead to Cervical Cancer. Almost every cervical disorder causes changes in the cervix cells, and changes in the cells are what can ultimately lead to cervical cancer.
Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. Cervicitis can cause Cervical Dysplasia by changing the cells in the cervix. Some patients experience no symptoms with Cervicitis while others may experience vaginal discharge, pain during sex, or painful urination.
Cervical Cysts and Polyps
Cervical Cysts are growths that are often filled with fluid. Cervical Polyps are categorized as abnormal growths of tissue. Cysts and Polyps are often found during a pelvic exam, with no symptoms reported by the patient. Polyps are removed and sent off to be tested for cancer. Most polyps are benign.
Cervical cysts can form when the cervix grows over tissue, causing mucus. The mucus becomes trapped and the cyst forms. Some patients may experience abdominal pain, but many experience no symptoms. Most cysts go away over time.
Preventive Treatment For Cervix Health
Most cervix disorders are found during a woman’s routine pelvic exam or Pap Smear test. Lumps and other changes to the cervix can sometimes be felt during an exam, while a Pap Smear is a sampling of cells from the cervix that are sent to a lab to be tested.
Women should have a yearly pelvic exam by their doctor, and a Pap Smear should be performed every three years.
The majority of cervical cancer patients were diagnosed based on the findings of an abnormal pelvic exam or Pap Smear. The earlier the abnormalities are found and treated, the higher the chance of recovery.
Cervical Cancer Prevention
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus. HPV is a group of viruses, with many of them passed through sexual intercourse. But there is an HPV vaccine available that has been shown to reduce the chances of cervical cancer caused by HPV. The CDC recommends that children as young as 9 be given the vaccination.
The best protection against cervical cancer is early detection. 91 percent of people with cervical cancer detected early on survive. That is why regular cervix exams are essential to cervical health.