7 Ways to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the cervix, the lower most part of the uterus. If cervical cancer is not caught in its early stages, it can become quite serious. Fortunately, Pap smear testing has reduced the prevalence of cervical cancer in recent years. According to a report published by the National Cancer Institute, many cases of cervical cancer are preventable. Unfortunately, there are many women who still develop this disease.
Take the following precautions to avoid cervical cancer:
- Schedule regular appointments for Pap smear testing. The Pap smear test is one of the greatest defense weapons against cervical cancer. The Pap smear test can detect early cervical changes long before the cancer actually begins to develop. Consult your doctor to learn more about the Pap smear test.
- Be aware of your sexual activity and how it can increase your chances of developing cervical cancer. Research suggests that women with multiple sexual partners are more prone to the risk of having cervical cancer. Studies have also shown a correlation between the number of sexual partners and HPV, a common source of this cancer.
- Quit smoking and do your best to avoid coming in contact with secondhand smoke. Smoking cigarettes has been shown to cause many different types of cancer—including cervical cancer. Smoking with an HPV infection can actually aggravate cervical dysplasia, which is the development of precancerous infection.
- Practice safe sex. If you are sexually active, you can prevent cervical cancer by using a condom. If you are currently taking a prescribed oral contraceptive or birth control, you are not protected from sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to cervical cancer. Having unprotected sex can expose you to HIV and other diseases that have been shown to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Eat a plant-based diet. Although you cannot prevent cervical cancer with diet alone, certain foods have been shown to decrease an individual’s risk of contracting cervical cancer. Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and other relatives can aid in the restoration of the cells infected with HPV. Make sure you are getting enough fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains each day.
- Get the HPV vaccination. HPV stands for the Human Papillomavirus—the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are 40 different types of HPV that can infect both males and females. Studies show that virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. The HPV vaccine is available for girls as young as nine and is available to women up until age 27. This vaccine works more effectively when given to young women who are still sexually inactive. Be sure to remind friends and family about the HPV vaccination. Often, women don’t become educated on the effects of HPV and cervical cancer until they are no longer eligible to receive the shot.
- Educate yourself. Do your own research to find out more about cervical cancer. Learning more about the disease is the best way to prevent it.
As the cliché suggests, prevention is better than cure. Follow the above listed precautions and be safe.