Cervical Cancer: The Ugly Truth that is for Women and their partners, too!
Cervical cancer...this is a women's topic but I dared wrote it. This hub is dedicated to all women because this month of March is the International Month for Women. This is a salute to all your hardships that also helped build this world, along with men.
I thanked my mother for conceiving me and delivering me in this world. My four decades of life in the outside world is so worthy that I was overwhelmed in her decision to let me grow and discover the hardships and triumphs of being a human. Another thing is that she didn’t suffer from any serious diseases concerning her cervix when in fact, she produced 10 offspring, thanks to my father’s eagerness to have many descendants (including me) and never think of family planning.
I’m talking about cervical cancer. Half a million cases are being diagnosed annually around the world. Ten thousand cases (10, 000) are in the USA with a 37 % mortality rate. While here in the Philippines, women who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer have a 50% mortality rate.
Understanding Cervical Cancer
Uterine cervix is the one affected by the virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is the collar part of the uterus that connects vagina to the matrix. HPV is transmitted sexually. In the Philippines, more than 90% of the cases among women with HPV are transferred during sexual intercourse, even with single partner (husband or boyfriend) or those women who indulge in having multiple sex partners (like commercial sex worker or prostitutes).
The husband or boyfriend of an infected woman is the carrier of HPV. If a woman’s immune system is strong, then, the body can heal and fight the virus. The disease can retaliate or reoccur 10 to 15 years later if a woman indulge in sex or had initial contact in her 20s. The cancer will surface once you reaches the age of 40 to 50 years old if you have the infection and didn’t underwent medication.
HPV strains 16-18 are carrying the virus that cause the cervical cancer, while the 6-11 are the ones responsible for the warts and lesions that are indications that you are infected and be affected by the cancer a decade later.
How to avoid and treat cervical cancer
As early as 9 years old, little girls in the US are being injected by anti-HPV vaccines. Here in the Philippines, 13 year old teenage girls are being oriented and instructed to undergo the immunization process. This is called a prophylactic vaccine because it will only be effective if the girls or women are not yet exposed to HPV.
Vaccines can be bivalent vaccine for two strains while quadrivalent for 4 strains. There are three sessions for injections. It can be from zero month (start of injection) followed after one month then the last after 6 months. Other variation will be from zero month, 2 months and 6 months.
The staff of Gynecology Department at Manila Doctors Hospital advises women, married or unmarried but active in sex or having sexual partners should undergo tests in their laboratory.
Ultrasound testing is very effective because it will not only inspect the affected part but also other parts of the reproductive organ of a woman. PAP Test or HPV Test is often the required lab test tao ensure if a woman has a clean uterine cervix. Cytopathologist should be present in order to read the result of PAP smear. It is necessary to do the test twice a year, even you're a homebody mother or a working one.
Visual infection with acetic acid is also conducted. Pelvic exam should be done after three years of a girl’s first sexual contact. The inspection of the pelvic vulva should be done annually from 30 until 70 years old. The pelvic exam will depend upon the woman’s sexual activities, too.
Don't forget the symptoms of cervix or cervical cancer
Take note of this: self-inspection should be done by the affected girl or woman alone. If she’s having a smelly discharge, a watery one with smear of blood, and lesion at the uterine cervix, these are indications that she is affected by HPV. Post coital bleeding will result after having a painful sexual intercourse.
The treatment ranges from radiation, chemotherapy and surgery or the combination of three depending on the stages of the cervix cancer.
Cervical Cancer Support Group is needed to assist patients undergoing the treatment. Counseling and much needed support from the family should always be observed. The stigma of having a cervix cancer is somewhat unbearable among the patients. The time you’ll spend undergoing chemo-radiation is tiring. If a patient is having positive responses, the session will last until sixth time of the series of sessions.
Cervix cancer can reoccur even after completing the treatment. The prices of medication will also triple, much higher than the original payment. It’s too expensive to be having this disease among women.
So, choosing a boyfriend or a partner must involve a careful scrutiny of his background. Ask about his sexual activities, his degree of promiscuity or whatever things you must know about him. Don’t be blinded by his physical attributes. Love your body. Love is most gratifying and satisfying, too, if you will not experience this second killer disease among women: cervix or cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
The video above is about Cervical Cancer Awareness. It was done three years ago (2007) by Dr. Donnica Moore, women's health expert and Stacy London, host of TLC's "What's Not To Wear" wherein they talked about the launching of MakeTheCommitment campaign about cervical cancer in YouTube.
Mandy Moore joins fight against Cervical Cancer
Available vaccines as anti-cervical cancer
I've been asked recently (14Dec2010) by jajajaj regarding the prices of anti-cervical cancer vaccine and here's what I've found out.
There are two types of vaccine available in the Philippines.
1. Cervarix - against HPV 16 & 18 strains that are causes of 70% of cervical cancer. (Price per dose = P 2500.00 or about $60.00)
2.Gardasil - protects you against 6,11,16 & 18 strains of HPV and genital warts (Price per dose = P4000.00 or about $100.00)
Protecting yourself can be this expensive but it's better than acquiring the disease.
In the Philippines, you can follow and contact an PB-Gyne physician that can sure help you when you're in Metro Manila.