Cervical cancer is a serious disease that affects a great number of women. It is deemed one of the most common types of cancer that can develop in women. Even though there is a sufficient amount of information about cervical cancer, there are many myths about this condition that remain popular today. In this article, we have gathered six common myths and facts about cervical cancer you need to know.
Myth 1: Cervical cancer affects only older women
Fact: Cervical cancer can affect any woman. In many cases, it develops in sexually active women of the reproductive age. You should know that human papillomavirus (HPV) contributes to the development of most cases of cervical cancer. This means that almost every woman regardless of her age that has had sex and was infected with cancerous strains of HPV can develop cervical cancer.
Myth 2: All types of HPV cause cervical cancer
Fact: HPV has approximately 100 types and only a few of them (16, 18, 31, 33,45, 52, and 58) that can contribute to the development of cervical cancer. The 16th and18th types are the most cancerous while the other five do not always lead to cancerous changes. Some types can be asymptomatic and a few types can lead to condylomas.
Myth 3: Cervical cancer is hard to diagnose
Fact: Even though regular gynecological examinations and testing for cancer may seem unnecessary, they can help diagnose cervical cancer in early stages. Today, there are a lot of various testings and researches that can determine changed cervical cells. This can help start cervical cancer treatment when the condition doesn’t spread significantly. That’s why it is necessary to visit your gynecologist at least once a year to avoid advanced cervical cancer.
Myth 4: You can’t prevent cervical cancer
Fact: Due to the fact that cervical cancer is caused mostly by HPV, there is a vaccine that can help you prevent the infection with this virus. The vaccination should be performed at a young age (11-13 years old) because, with the start of sexual life, the risk of getting HPV increases significantly. You can also prevent cervical cancer by regular Pap testing and monitoring your condition.
Myth 5: Cervical cancer causes severe symptoms
Fact: Unfortunately, cervical cancer can develop asymptomatically for a long period of time. In most cases, symptoms occur when cervical damage becomes significant. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer include:
Pain and bleeding after sex
If you have noticed at least some of the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment with your gynecologist, and get tested for cervical cancer. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent the development of severe complications.
Myth 6: Spotting always means cervical cancer
Fact: Even though spotting (especially after sex) is considered the most common sign of cervical cancer, there are a lot of conditions that can also cause light bleeding between periods. For example, uterine fibroids and polyps that grow inside the uterus can also cause spotting. Additionally, when polyps protrude through the cervix, frictions during sex can injure them and lead to bleeding.
The bottom line
When it comes to various health issues, it is important to distinguish between myths and proven information. You should understand that if you will ignore your symptoms or believe that you can’t get cervical cancer because you are too young, you may face a lot of serious complications.
Don’t neglect regular gynecological check-ups and try to monitor your condition. This will help you avoid cervical cancer or at least prevent its aggravation. Cervical cancer treatment will be the most successful if you will start its treatment at the early stages.