There is some controversy with the vaccine, though, because there are risks with it and there have been side effects in some women who have taken it (Luhn, 2013). Despite the concerns over it, however, it remains a valuable tool in the fight against HPV, which is known to cause nearly 90% of the cases of cervical cancer that are seen in the United States and other countries (Gadducci, et al., 2011; Luhn, 2013). Most women who get HPV will not get cancer, and their bodies will fight off and remove the infection. For the women who are not able to do that and are more susceptible, however, HPV vaccines such as Gardasil can be literal lifesavers Gadducci, et al., 2011; Luhn, 2013).
Condoms and Nutrition
Condoms are important in fighting the spread of STDs such as HPV. Because of that, they can be very helpful for women who want to protect themselves from harm. There is evidence that semen touching the cervix can raise the risk of cervical cancer, so women should use condoms if they are not actively trying to conceive Gadducci, et al., 2011; Luhn, 2013). When they choose that method of birth control, they also lower their risk of other types of diseases and conditions, which can help them lead healthier lives and protect them from HPV and other risks for cervical cancer. In addition to condoms, good nutrition is one way to help ward off cervical cancer. Vitamin A and other nutrients have been shown to help reduce a woman's risk of the disease (Luhn, 2013).
Because cervical cancer is such a significant issue and can cause loss of life, educating women on the value of being tested and treated for the disease is highly important. Unfortunately, many developing countries do not provide women with that education, and testing services are not available or reliable. With that in mind, it is also important to note that many women in developed countries like the United States still do not have all the facts about cervical cancer. The most common misconception is regarding HPV. Women who do not have good access to reproductive health education are often not aware of the true dangers of HPV and how it is contracted, or how they can most easily avoid it. Because of that, they are putting themselves at more risk than necessary.
The other misconception about HPV is that it always causes cancer. This is also untrue. Most women who get it will not develop cancer, but most women who do get cervical cancer will get it from HPV. The more a woman understands cervical cancer, how it is caused, and the importance of early detection and treatment, the more likely she will be to take the issue seriously and see her healthcare provider in order to remain cancer free. Women who see their doctors regularly have a higher survival rate and a much earlier detection time than women who avoid the doctor.
As can be seen, cervical cancer is a serious health issue for women all over the world. There are numerous deaths every year, so it is not something that can be ignored or overlooked. The pap smear is a very important way to find cervical cancer, especially before it becomes too far advanced. When it is caught early, cervical cancer has a good cure rate, and the five-year survival rates are very high. However, when it is not detected until it has advanced into a later stage, it can be much harder to address. The survival rates drop dramatically, as well, because the cancer has often spread to other organs and tissues. Once that takes place, the woman needs more radical treatment and a whole-body approach is required. While treatment can still be successful, it can also become more of a risk and a danger, along with the cancer itself and the serious health risk of it. Early detection and treatment are the key elements to making sure a woman survives cervical cancer.
Gadducci, A., Barsotti, C., Cosio, S., Domenici, L., & Riccardo Genazzani, A. (2011). Smoking habit, immune suppression, oral contraceptive use, and hormone replacement therapy use and cervical carcinogenesis: a review of the literature. Gynecological endocrinology: the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, 27(8): 597 -- 604.
Harper, D.M., Franco, E.L., Wheeler, C., Ferris, D.G., Jenkins, D., Schuind, A., Zahaf, T., Innis, B., Naud, P., De Carvalho, N.S., Roteli-Martins, C.M., Teixeira, J., Blatter, M.M., Korn, A.P., Quint, W., & Dubin, G. (2004). Efficacy of a bivalent L1 virus-like particle vaccine in prevention of infection with human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 in young women: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 364(9447): 1757 -- 65.
Luhn, P., Walker, J., Schiffman, M., Zuna, R.E., Dunn, S.T., Gold, M.A., Smith, K., Matthews, C., Allen, R.A., Zhang, R., Wang, S., & Wentzensen,…