Cervical cancer in the United States isn’t as common as some of the other types of cancers that affect women nowadays, largely because of the Pap smear test, which can detect it early on, and the HPV vaccine for prevention. However, cervical cancer is still affecting at least 9,000 women in the U.S. annually.
For those who are at risk, there is something you can do to fight and keep yourself protected from this disease, which is great news since cancer usually has such a defeating prognosis attached to it.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
Those who are at particular risk of contracting cervical cancer include the following: 1) people who are sexually active at a young age, 2) people with multiple sex partners or who has sex with someone with multiple sex partners, 3) smokers, 4) victims of secondhand smoke, 5) those with weak immune systems, 6) those infected with HIV,
7) those who have had numerous live births, 8) those with a history of STDs, 9) those with an extensive history of using birth control pills, 10) those who have unprotected sex, 11) those who have personally used diethylstilbestrol estrogen (DES), 12) those whose mothers used DES between 1940 and 1971, 13) those who haven’t had the HPV vaccine, and 14) those who fail to have regular Pap smears.
Cervical cancer in its early stages is asymptomatic, and by the time symptoms appear the cancer has reached advanced stages. Symptoms include: 1) abnormal vaginal bleeding; 2) unusual abdominal pain; 3) sustained vaginal discharge that is foul-smelling and red, pink, or brown in color; 4) pain during urination; 5) unexplained back pain; 6) swelling in one leg; 7) leg pain; 8) unexplained fatigue; 9) loss of appetite; 10) leakage of fecal matter or urine from vagina; and 11) bone pain and fractures.
Alarming Research On Cheating Spouses and Cervical Cancer
Discovering that your spouse is cheating on you may be more cause for alarm than usual. In a study of more than 1,200 men and women, evidence suggests that women whose husbands have extramarital affairs are 5 to 11 times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
As for husbands who had sexual liaisons with prostitutes, the incidence of cervical cancer among the wives was 8 times greater. Based on these findings, researchers believe that the wives contracted the human papilloma virus (HPV) from their husbands, who picked up the disease from their multiple partners. HPV is believed to be the virus that causes cervical cancer.
HPV Vaccine – Eligible girls between the ages of 9 and 27 may now receive the FDA-approved HPV vaccine, Gardisil, which protects against the most dangerous and common strains of HPV. This vaccine is reportedly most effective when taken prior to becoming sexually active and targets precancerous cells as well as early-stage cancerous cells to destroy them.
Pap Smears/Gynecological Exams – The Pap smear test, which involves swabbing of the cervix to examine the cells there, is one of the most reliable and strongest tests women can take to catch cervical cancer before it actually begins. Cervical cells are examined for abnormalities to make sure they aren’t cancerous.
This test is usually done once every two or three years in most cases, but more frequently when abnormalities appear. Beyond childbearing age, women can request the test with their regular gynecological exam at their discretion.
Women should also quit smoking, stop all risky sexual activity and report to their doctor should they have any of the risk factors or notice any of the symptoms above to protect themselves against the disease.