How often should women be screened for cervical cancer?

What is cervical cancer?

The cervix is ​​the lower part of the uterus. It connects the uterus and vagina. Screening for cervical cancer may include cervical cytology (also known as the Papanicolaou stain or Papanicolaou test) and testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) in some women.

May of cases of cervical cancer is caused by infection with HPV, a virus that can invade and alter cells. Certain types of HPV have been associated with cervical cancer, including cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, penis, throat, and mouth.

HPV is passed on from one person during sexual activity to another. It is the most common, and most sexually active people can develop HPV infections in their lifetime. In many cases, HPV infection does not cause symptoms. Most HPV infections disappear spontaneously, and such short-term infections usually result in only mild or mild changes in cervical cells. As soon as the HPV infection is resolved, the cells return to normal. However, HPV does not disappear in some women. Prolonged high-risk HPV infections can cause more severe or severe changes in cervical cells. High-level changes are more likely to cause cancer.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Early-stage cervical cancer does not cause symptoms, but advanced-stage cervical cancer has the following symptoms:

  • Pelvic pain or general pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Bloody vaginal discharge.
  • Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse or during menstruation.

When do you see a doctor?

Seek medical attention if you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, or any symptoms that are relevant to you.

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What are the screening tests that help in the early diagnosis of cervical cancer?

● HPV inspection. Human papillomavirus (HPV) tests for viruses that can cause changes, infections, and ultimately cervical cancer, primarily within the cell.

● Papanicolaou test. Also commonly referred to as a Papanicolaou smear, it identifies intracellular precancerous or altered cervical cells that can become cancerous.

For such tests, doctors use metal or plastic instruments, that is, a vaginal dilatation microscope. The dilated vagina helps the doctor examine both the vagina and the cervix and allows the doctor to collect samples from the cervix. These cells are sent to the laboratory for testing.

Both the Papanicolaou stain test and the HPV test can be done at the doctor’s office. The Papanicolaou test checks the normality of cells. The HPV test tests the presence of viruses in cells.

How to prepare for the Papanicolaou test or HPV test?

Preparing for the Papanicolaou or HPV test is easy and does not require long steps. Here are some things to keep in mind before proceeding with a Pap or HPV test:

  • You cannot rinse your vagina with water or other liquids.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse.
  • You had better not use tampons.
  • Do not apply any medicine or cream to the vaginal area.
  • Do not use contraceptive foams, jellies or creams.

These precautions should be taken 48 hours before the test.

When is the best time to be screened for cervical cancer?

The frequency of screening for cervical cancer and the tests to be done depend on age and health history.

● 21-29 years old

For women aged 21-29, only the Papanicolaou test is recommended every 3 years. HPV testing is not recommended.

● 30-65 years old

Papanicolaou and HPV tests (joint tests) are recommended for women between the ages of 30 and 65, preferably every 5 years.However, the Papanicolaou test every 3 years alone is acceptable.

● 65 years old and over

If you are 65 or older, your doctor may ask you to stop the test in the following cases:

  • All the tests so far have been successful.
  • The cervix was surgically removed.
  • I had a total hysterectomy.

How do I get the test results?

Results can take up to 3 weeks after being sent to the lab. If the test result is normal Cervical cancer It will remain low for the next few years. Your doctor will advise you to screen only after a few years.

If the test results show abnormal cells, your doctor will discuss your treatment plan. Treatment plans prevent abnormal growth from continuing or expanding. You should follow up with your doctor on a regular basis until the results return to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?

Has various risk factors Cervical cancer.. The potential for developing cervical cancer is if you have HIV or other illnesses that affect your immune system, if you smoke, if you use oral contraceptives for a long time, if you have many sexual partners, 3 It increases when you give birth to more than one child.

2. What is the difference between the Papanicolaou test and the pelvic test?

Papanicolaou test Cervical cancer screening, And pelvic examinations allow doctors to diagnose any genital illness.

3. How long does it take for cervical cancer to progress to advanced stage cancer?

Cervical cancer is caused by mutations in cells in the cervix at the bottom of the uterus. From that early stage Cervical cancer It can take several years to develop an invasive cancer. Therefore, frequent screening of the cervix is ​​recommended for all women.

4. How effective is the vaccine against cervical cancer?

Clinical trials have shown 100% protection against cervical cancer, but since its introduction in 2006, studies have reported a reduction of more than 50%. Cervical cancer Case. This makes the vaccine very effective.

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