In the 80’s, a lot of women were getting affected with cervical cancer by the time they reached the age of forty. The deadly disease had started shooting arrows perpetually and it is known to drop in unannounced. But, with the start of the national screening, the mortality rate has dropped drastically. To give you a better idea with a number, a drop in 50% has been recorded over the past 25-30 years. However, Cervical Cancer is still amidst us and getting the facts right, is critical.
So here are a few myths I’ve heard and thought of sharing the truth behind it with you all.
- Dissolute is equal to cervical cancer.
Fact: Regardless of the promiscuity scale being a zero or more, it does not measure as a definite parameter of getting infected with HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Whether a woman has been with one partner or more, any one can acquire the virus – it all depends on who has been exposed to it. Direct exposure to HPV via skin contact, any type of sexual activity and bodily fluids with an infected person can be the cause of contracting the disease.
- No symptoms observed aka cancer free.
Fact: Cervical cancer is a silent monster. The initial stages of cervical cancer do not display any signs or symptoms. Now that’s where it gets worrisome. As it advances to a malignant stage, symptoms develop starting with abdominal cramps, pain during sex, abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding, severe pain in the back or leg, fatigue and coughing of blood in the later invasive phase.
- My family history does not list cervical cancer anywhere.
Fact: Cervical cancer does not have a genetic influence. The only way you can get the infection is through contact. Your genetic makeup and hereditary link has no command over the disease. That is good news though. Seeking preventive measures, any one can stay shielded from cervical cancer.
- Testing positive for HPV is an indicator of cervical cancer.
Fact: Not necessarily. The HPV virus has about 40 subtypes and only 15 out of all contribute to changes in the cells of the cervix. Usually, when people are infected by HPV , the body’s defense mechanism throws out the virus within two years. So if lucky enough you many steer pass the cancer. However, if the virus is of a high-risk category, it increases your chance of getting cervical cancer over the years when left untreated.
- Cervical cancer is a call to death.
Fact: Cervical cancer is one of the very few cancers that can actually be prevented. When identified in the initial stage, cervical cancer has a high survival rate of 93%. It is mandatory for sexually active women to get a pap smear test done every three years and for women over the age of 30 should get a HPV test done every five years. However, do not screen for tests unnecessarily as it may increase health complications. Always talk to your gynecologist if you sense a risk of cervical cancer.
Here is a comprehensive overview about Cervical Cancer:-