Cervical cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in women in Malaysia1, with about 2,145 women in Malaysia being diagnosed with cervical cancer each year (estimations for year 2012)2.
Fortunately, the risk of developing cervical cancer can be reduced with regular Pap smears and you can consult your doctor about HPV vaccination. These are 7 Vital Facts About Cervical Cancer:
- Cervical cancer occurs when malignant cells develop in the lining of the cervix3.
- 99% of cervical cancer cases are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV)4.
- 70% of these cases are caused by HPV-16 and HPV-184.
- HPV is very common, infecting 1 in 2 sexually active adults at some point in their lives5.
- In most cases, the infections will clear up. In some cases, HPV can stay in the body and trigger abnormal cell growth in the cervix of infected women4.
- Cervical cancer risk is higher in women who smoke as well as those with multiple sexual partners, a history of sexually transmitted diseases and a weak immune system3,6.
Source: Fauci AS et al., Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th Edition: http:/www.accessmedicine.co
7. Women with early stages of cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms3,7. Symptoms often do not begin until cancer cells become aggressive and spread into nearby tissues7. When this happens, the most common symptoms are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having longer or heavier (menstrual) periods than usual7,8
- An unusual discharge from the vagina may contain some blood and may occur between your periods or after menopause3,7.
- Pain in the vagina during sex7.
- Ministry of Health Malaysia, National Cancer Registry Report 2007, Malaysia Cancer Statistics – Data and Figure.
- World Health Organization (WHO), ICO, 2013 Malaysia Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact sheet, http://www.hpvcentre.net/statistics/reports/MYS_FS.pdf (accessed on 13 November 2014).
- Saonere JA, Awareness Screening Programme Reduces The Risk of Cervical Cancer in Women, African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2010, Vol 4.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: The Pink Book, 12th ed. CDC 2012.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sexually Transmitted Diseases Guidelines, 2010. MMWR2010:59 (No. RR-12).
- Chaturvedi AK et al., Risk of Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancers Among Persons with AIDS, Journal of National Cancer Institution 2009, Vol 101.
- American Cancer Society, Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection, http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003167-pdf. pdf (accessed on 13 November 2014).
- World Health Organization, Human Papillomavirus and Cervical Cancer, 2013. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs380/en/ (accessed on 31 October 2014).