Cervical cancer can be prevented

9
This post is written in support for "Power Over Cervical Cancer" campaign.

When it comes to women's cancer prevention, it's important to rope in men to spread the cause. Women have a terrible track record for taking care of their own health. Many women don't masturbate or check themselves down there. How many sexually active women bother to carry condoms with them? Who do they leave it to? The men. How do many women find out that they have lumps in their breasts? Their partners felt the lump. Women themselves don't bother to do self-examination of their breasts.

Cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy in women worldwide. One of the causes of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV). Any girl or woman who is sexually active, regardless of age, can get cervical cancer.

There are many misconceptions about HPV and many people have not even heard of it. HPV is not just one type of virus but a group of over 100 types/strains of related viruses. HPV can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. About 30 strains are sexually-transmitted (including through oral sex).

If you have ever gone for a blood test to test for the presence of sexually-transmitted diseases and infections you would know that HPV testing is not part of the standard test. And even if yours or your partner's test results come back "clean", you may not be as "clean" as you think. There is no test that can guarantee that anyone (particularly men) are not infected with HPV. People who have HPV usually don't exhibit any symptoms and they do not know that they have it. Most sexually active people would have had the virus at some point in their lives! (According to statistics, at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women in the United States will acquire this infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have been infected with the virus. Genital HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.)



In most cases, the immune system is able to fight off the virus - the way it fights off a common cold - and the virus is eliminated from the body. However, if the immune system is not strong enough the virus would remain in the body. Out of the 100+ strains of HPV, about 15 are classified as high-risk meaning there is a relatively higher possibility that the infection might cause cancer. The low-risk ones can also cause cancer. If the odds are for the person, there will be no adverse health effects even if the virus remains in the body for years. If the odds are against the person, the virus can cause warts on the genitals and in the throat, and/or the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix, anus and/or penis leading that may lead to cancer. The most common type of cancer caused by HPV is cervical cancer.

Women can also partially protect themselves by doing the following:
1. Using condoms during sex.
2. Getting immunised against the high-risk strains of HPV. It costs about $350 for the 3 jabs.
3. Going for regular pap smears as advised by their doctors. Women should start going for pap smears the earlier of:
- reaching 21 years of age, or
- within 3 years of the first sexual intercourse.
There is no saying exactly how long HPV takes to develop into cervical cancer but there is a window of opportunity to catch it and treat it. When the abnormal cells appear on the cervix, those cells can be detected during a pap smear. Laboratory test can confirm the presence of HPV (note that some strains of HPV cannot be detected). Before the cells become cancerous, they are in a pre-cancerous stage called dysplasia. There are four degrees of dysplasia: mild, moderate, severe, and carcinoma in situ. In the most severe state of dysplasia, which is carcinoma in situ, the condition is curable.

None of the above are 100% protection but some protection is better than no protection. The only 100% protection is complete abstinence from any form of sex including kissing, oral sex and petting.

I do not regard remaining monogamous as a form of protection because your partner may not be and your partner may have contracted HPV many years ago.

Women may also want to consider buying woman's health insurance. Great Eastern's Pinklife which is a standalone plan or NTUC Income's Lady Plus Rider both cover cervical cancer, carcinoma-in-situ, reconstructive surgery, fractures from osteoporosis, etc. You should obtain proposals for both before deciding which to buy because they are designed with different needs in mind. If you need an agent, you can send me an email and I can refer you to my agents (I previously complained about insurance agents but I find my 2 current agents prompt and honest. Insurance is insurance, not investment. Don't buy insurance investment products).

If you have sisters, friends, daughters, wife, relatives or female colleagues, please don't hesitate to spread the word. Send them the link to this post or to the campaign website http://www.pocc.sg. Don't assume that everybody knows about cervical cancer. Many women take care of their families but neglect their own health. Where health and life are concerned, giving "too much information" is better than losing your family and friends to cervical cancer.


Related posts:
[If you smell funny down there, go see a doctor]
[Pap smear]
[Vaginal douching]


Power Over Cervical Cancer is a campaign that aims to make Singapore the country with the lowest incidence of Cervical Cancer and they need your help to spread the word.

Pledge your support for this cause and protect those you care about by telling them about Cervical Cancer. Together, we have POWER Over Cervical Cancer. Click the button below to begin!

9 comments:

David said...

Yu-Kym,

A brave and topical post for those who read your blog.

Cervical cancer and STDs should not be treated lightly.

Men need to think beyond their gonads when desirous or lusting for sex.
(admit it guys just seeing a hot girl is all it takes...)

Guys are you absolutely sure you have not contracted an STD?

Think about this boys.

Y-K, I noticed some hours after posting there are few replies, even from women.

Most interesting and slightly distressing that few are interested in sexual health issues.

David

'Difficulty' is not a word to be found in the dictionary of heaven. Nothing can be impossible with God.

-- Charles H. Spurgeon

Anonymous said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10691353

HIV is even more deadly.

HIV
Highly Important Visitor

Anonymous said...

David,

I think the dearth of replies is not because of anyone's apathy or indifference over health issues but more to the fact that Yu-Kym explained it so "frigtheningly" well that there is really nothing contentious to debate about.

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

Nobody likes to talk about depressing stuff such as diseases and prevention/protection.
"I don't have HPV. It doesn't concern me."
"Why so negative? Be positive!"
"What are the chances? I can't be so unlucky!"
"God will protect me."
"I'm faithful to my partner, it won't happen to me."
"It won't happen to me or my family."

Highly Important Visitor, we all have heard of HIV and we know that HIV is incurable as at today. Many people including university graduates in Singapore have not even heard of HPV.

Anonymous said...

My previous post is to alert you to the latest in HIV prevention.

I think I'm being very positive to help you here. Taking proactive preventive measures is Possibility Thinking under-girded by Positive Thinking.

Look at this recent posting by RockBaby:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=31050&page=3#27

It won't happen to you? Think again!

"God will protect me." Huh?

HIV
Highly Important Visitor

Anonymous said...

Yup....you nailed it again. I've heard if HPV but dont know what exactly it is. Thanks for the education. hehe

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

Highly Important Visitor, there are differences between HIV and HPV. We cannot talk about them in the same way. Virgins can get HPV. Strictly monogamous couples can get HPV. This post in is support of the Power Over Cervical Cancer campaign. Women can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by getting immunised against the high-risk strains of HPV. Parents should have have their daughters immunised too.

Anonymous said...

Yu-Kym, thanks for the posts. You mentioned about the ntuc & GE's plans for ladies. Had bad experiences with agents too. Wld like to ask to which address do I email you for the referral to your agents. Thanks

Yu-Kym said...

Hi, you can email me at gal2000 @ live.com.sg