Bitter Truths About Cervical Cancer
By Hilda Monica Cao-Naval
It is the third most common cancer among women worldwide, and in the country it’s listed as one of the deadliest disease among Filipinas. As lethal as it can get, it takes away the valuable life of numerous females from various age groups and walks of life. But there’s hope. One can definitely save herself from the deadly lures of cervical cancer. Knowledge plays an important role in the preclusion of this malady. In view of that, I have written this article with a purpose in my mind: that is to pass on what I have learned regarding this matter, and am hoping that this act could contribute to a greater end… to free at least one person from this serious threat we all would want to avoid.
Cervical Cancer: What Everyone Should Know
Generally speaking, cancers occur when cells in a particular part of the body grow and behave abnormally. There are actually many kinds of cancer, and each type behaves characteristically different from all the other types. As a consequence there is no such thing as a general treatment for all cancer types that are known, but rather one particular therapy corresponds to a single kind of cancer.
Cervical cancer usually develops at the transformation part of the cervix where the endocervix and the ectocervix meet. This cancer, like all the other forms of cancers, is much like a complex network so its development could be caused by many things like virus-specific changes, genetic alterations of cellular genes, environment risk factors to mention a few. However there is one culprit that is usually accounted for a large number of occurrences—the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In fact, in a world-wide study of 1000 cases of cervical cancer has shown that more than 90% of it contain the HPV DNA. HPV has been very much associated with the cancer of the cervix that it has been considered as a necessary and sufficient condition for it to develop. Yet it is good to note that although HPV infection may increase the possibility of cancers to develop, some infections may not necessarily lead to cervical cancer. (To know more about HPV you can read the article on Human Papillomavirus by Rose Lauren Mariano).
Prevention and Treatment
In this case preventive measures are, more often than not, a lot better than most forms of medications and surgeries. In addition to that, because it is given that the most widespread form of cervical cancer starts with precancerous changes, there are two ways to stop this disease from evolving. One way is to prevent the occurrence precancers. If case this cannot be helped, one can compensate by detecting those precancers and then dealing with them before they become cancerous.
Specifically, there are certain ways to avoid these risk factors. Firstly, did you know that being careful with everything regarding your sexuality is not merely a moral issue, or just an unimportant measure given by overly restrictive KJs? It is actually a wise decision one can come up with particularly when she aims to prevent this ailment. By merely doing this, she prevents herself from any possible exposure to viruses that might cause the ailment such as HPV and HIV. In point of fact, it has been known among experts that having sex at an early age, being sexually polygamous or having sex with someone who’s already had many intimate partners increases the probability of having this cancer. Any sexual engagement with uncircumcised males is also a big no-no for it contributes to increasing the propensity to be infected. This is because uncircumcised males are believe to more likely harbor the virus compared to those who have undergone circumcision. For sexually active females, making use of condoms while having sexual intercourse could help. Although these plastics cannot perfectly protect from HPV, the risk could be reduced by up to 70%.
Surprisingly, aside from lung cancer, smoking can cause cancer of the cervix in some ways as it exposes the body to many cancer-causing elements that affect not only the lungs but also some other parts of it. It also weakens the immune system and as a result, the body becomes less resistant to all forms of illnesses. On the other hand if weakening the immune system increases chances of acquiring the illness, it is then highly expected that boosting the immune system would minimize it. In fact, vaccines have proven themselves useful in this quest for preventing this sickness. There are two types of vaccines specially made to immunize the body from certain HPV types: the Gardasil® (which aims to protect us from HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18) and Cervarix® (which gives protection from HPV 16 and 18). Last, but definitely not the least, abstinence is incontestably included in this list. Theoretically speaking, it is among the best forms of prevention for it can be full proof and safe; talk about being risk-free.
Unfortunately, if all preventive measures failed there is still an option to cure it. As was mentioned before, taking care of the disease when the cells have already become cancerous is a different story. Certain solutions to this problem include the well-known chemotherapy, different forms of surgeries, radiation therapy, and a whole lot more. By and large, these treatments either kill the cancer cells or remove some parts of the body that has been seriously infected. There are also what they call complementary and alternative therapies, or in other words, those practices that are not part of the customary medical management such as herbs, vitamins, food supplements, and the like. The efficacy of these treatments, however, hasn’t been verified so it’s hard to tell how beneficial these treatments really are. While some of them could be helpful in slowing the growth of cancer cells, there is a possibility that a fraction of these treatments could be harmful. Caution as well as proper guidance (from experts) regarding these practices should be considered before one should opt to undergo it.
Freedom from the bondage of pain and suffering caused by cervical cancer is a noble aim for it’s about your well being and self preservation. No one has the right to question that. Subsequently it is your choice to make the most of what knowledge you have right now, to acquire more of it for the days to come, and to apply what you have learned. Have yourself geared from whatever undesirable events that may arrive on the scene. It is among the best things you can do for yourself to say the least.
 HPV and Cervical Cancer. Stanford University July 7, 2007.
 What is Cervical Cancer? American Cancer Society, Inc. August 4, 2006. July 7, 2007.