TEEN TRIBUNE – Did you know that cervical cancer is not just a risk for adult women?
In the Philippines, according to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, 26% of our Filipino youth nationwide from ages 15 to 25 admitted to already engaging in premarital sex. Young people can be very curious at this stage in their lives, and particularly among young women, being too adventurous by having multiple sexual partners may increase their risk of acquiring the virus that causes cervical cancer.1
In addition…[pq]…young women who undergo a full-term pregnancy before the age of 17 are also twice as likely to get cervical cancer.2[/pq]
Among three women afflicted with this disease, two will die within five years of diagnosis.3
Research shows that the necessary cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is implicated in over 99% of cervical cancers worldwide.4 An important concern especially for women is also the reality that cancer-causing HPV types can linger in the body for years without demonstrating any symptoms.5
When cancer cells begin to develop in the cervix, the following symptoms may manifest:6
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding or pain during sex
Surgical interventions for cervical cancer may involve chemotherapy or radiation; it may even entail the removal of the uterus and ovaries, which means the loss of a woman’s opportunity to have children in the future.7 Therefore, in controlling cervical cancer, an ounce of prevention is still weightier than a ton of treatment.
There are various steps women can take to prevent cervical cancer today. The Pap test, hailed by experts as “one of the great success stories in early detection” 8 is suitable beginning at age 21 and is normally done every three years. A cervical biopsy (which involves taking out cervical tissue samples for examination to check for abnormal cells beneath the cervical surface9) is also an option.
Vaccines formulated to help prevent infections caused by two of the most prevalent cancer-causing HPV types are also available for women. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends vaccination of girls prior to HPV exposure (which is before sexual contact), defined by many countries to be as young as 9 years of age.10 HPV vaccination also remains to be recommended for older girls and women even if they missed their shots when they were younger.11
Learn more about cervical cancer protection from your doctor—for yourself and your daughter—today.
For more information on cervical cancer, please consult your doctor.
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Date Created: April 2015
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- Cancer Research UK. “Cervical cancer risks and causes” http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/cervical-cancer/about/cervical-cancer-risks-and-causes/. June 19, 2014.
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “Cervical cancer risk factors.” http://www.cancercenter.com/cervical-cancer/risk-factors/. January 28, 2015.
- Laudico AV et al. Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates. 2010.
- Wallboomers JH et al. J Pathol. 1999; 189: 1209.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-Associated Cancers.” http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/. September 5, 2013.
- National Cancer Institute. “General Information About Cervical Cancer.” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/cervical/Patient/page1/. April 2, 2015.
- Fawcett N. “15 common myths about cervical cancer.” University of Michigan Health System. http://www.med.umich.edu/. January 10, 2007.
- WebMD. “A Visual Guide to Cervical Cancer.” http://www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer/ss/slideshow-cervical-cancer-overview. April 10, 2014.
- American Cancer Society. “How is cervical cancer diagnosed?” http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/detailedguide/cervical-cancer-diagnosis. January 7, 2015.
- World Health Organization. “Cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV vaccines.” http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2008/WHO_RHR_08.14_eng.pdf?ua=1. 2007.
- American Cancer Society. “American Cancer Society Recommendations for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine Use to Prevent Cervical Cancer and Pre-cancers.” http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/infectiousagents/hpv/acs-recommendations-for-hpv-vaccine-use. April 10, 2013.