Cervical Cancer Screening

Escape from Cervical Cancer by getting Screened today!

Prevent cervical cancer by getting screened today!

Any woman can get Cervical Cancer. It is caused by a virus which is sexually transmitted. BUT It is easy to prevent and easy to treat IF discovered early. CRYOTHERAPY Service (s) is available in Marie Stopes Centres across The Country

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women worldwide. 80% of cases occur in developing countries. It has been reported that there are 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer worldwide, over 90% of which were recorded in developing countries like Sierra Leone and Persistent infection with a high-risk HPV is the most important causal factor

What is Cervical Cancer?

  • Uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix
  • Caused by a virus called HPV, which is sexually transmitted
  • Women are the only ones affected because men do not have cervix. Cervical cancer are mainly caused by Human Papilloma virus (HPV) types  16 & 18
  • Has 2 main stages: Pre-Cancer and Full Cancer. In men, the virus infects the cells of the urethra, but there are rarely any lesions or other symptoms
  • Circumcision appears to reduce the risk that infection will lead to cancer of the penis in males, it also appears to reduces  the risk of transmission of HPV strains that cause cancer. However, Men likely face the same chance of HPV infection as women

It is easy and affordable to PREVENT, IF discovered at the Pre-Cancer stage

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. No signs or symptoms at Pre-Cancer stage.

Over a lifetime, sexually active adults have a 70%–80% chance of being infected with a cancer-causing type of HPV. However, only a few women develop cervical cancer because for most women, the infection is cleared by the body’s natural immune system. Symptoms at Full Cancer stage include: smelly vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause which does not respond to treatment, frequent and urgent passing of urine, back ache and lower abdominal pain.

What factors increase the chances of HPV Infection leading to Full Cancer?

  • Becoming sexually active at a young age
  • Having many sexual partners and not using condoms
  • Having a sexual partner with many sexual partners
  • The presence of other STIs e.g. chlamydia, herpes, HIV/AIDs
  • Use of tobacco or cigarette smoking

 

How can a woman reduce the chances of HPV infection leading to Full Cancer?

  • Insist on condoms, if you feel at risk of STIs, to prevent HPV infection and protect against STIs that encourage development of cancer.
  • Take your daughters for HPV vaccination, if they are between 9-13 years, before they have sex. The vaccine is effective for 7-8 years.
  • Go for screening to check for pre-cancer:
    • For HIV negative women: every 3 – 5 years depending on the screening method, and results of the initial test.
    • For HIV positive women: every 6 months for the first year, then once a year thereafter.

How is a woman treated at Pre-Cancer stage?

  • If the infected area is small, treatment is done using CRYOTHERAPY
    • Involves freezing (killing) of the Pre-Cancer cells, using a special gas
    • The patient is not put to sleep, or injected with anesthetic.
    • She will not feel any pain, but may feel  a little discomfort
    • Side effects: watery discharge (may have some blood), mild cramps, no sex for 1 month and cannot use tampons
    • After Cryotherapy expect watery vaginal discharge (may have some blood), mild cramps, NO sex for 1 month and cannot use tampons. If you must have sex then ensure you use a condom.
  • If the Pre-Cancer is too big for Cryotherapy, two other methods may be used: LEEP and Cold Knife. These two require a woman to be put to sleep or be injected with anesthetic.

How is a woman treated at Full Cancer stage?

Depending on how much the cancer has progressed, there are 3 treatment options:

  • Surgery
  • Radio therapy
  • Chemo therapy
  • Prevention is better than Treatment or cure

Regular cervical screening tests are recommended for all women 25 years and older.

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