Cervical cancer – what Nigerian ladies must know about the deadly disease?
If you’re one of those ladies who are thinking cervical cancer can never happen to you, please think again.
Facts about Cervical Cancer
- Cervical cancer is the world’s second most common cancer in women.
- Every minute, one woman is diagnosed with the disease somewhere in the world.
- It can be a threat to all women.
- Vaccination against the causes of cervical cancer and regular screen could help you prevent it.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix (the ‘neck’ of the womb). And unlike some other cancers, it is not a condition dependent on the family history, because it it caused by viral infection.
What causes the disease?
Cervical cancer is caused by an infection related to a common virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is caused during sexual activities including intimate skin contact. Condoms do not offer total protection.
Who is most at risk?
Cervical cancer can affect all sexually active women of all ages, not just older women. Up to 80% of the women will be infected by HPV at some point in their life. Not all HPV infections cause cancer, and although most of them clear naturally, some can lead to cancer.
Will I notice any symptoms?
There are often no signs or symptoms of cervical cancer at the early stages, when it can be successfully treated. It usually takes many years to develop, but early signs of infection that causes cervical cancer can be detected by regular cervical screening.How can I help prevent the causes of cervical cancer?
You can help to prevent the causes of cervical cancer by getting vaccinated and going for regular cervical screening. It is recommended that you should start screening when you reach 25 years of age, and continue to do this every 3 years. Before you get vaccinated, you should speak to you doctor.
Why are vaccination and regular screening important?
Although vaccination can help protect you against the main causes of cervical cancer, it does not protect you against all of them, so it is important to have regular screening as well. Vaccination and screening are complementary. Together they are the most effective way of helping to prevent cervical cancer.
Am I too young or too old for vaccination?
Young girls and women from 10 years of age onwards can benefit from being vaccinated against the causes of cervical cancer. Talk to your doctor to see if vaccination is suitable for you.
When is the right time for my daughter to get vaccinated?
If your daughter is at least 10 years of age you should talk to her doctor about vaccination for her.
I’m in a stable relationship, should I still get vaccinated?
Even if you have a long-term partner, you still be at risk and could benefit from vaccination. Help protect yourself in the future through vaccination and regular screening.
How is vaccination given?
The vaccination consists of three injections given over a six-month period by a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional. It is important that you complete the full course of vaccination, including all 3 doses, in order for the vaccine to be highly effective. You should also continue with regular screening even after being vaccinated.