Cervical cancer is cancer that begins in the uterine cervix, the lower end of the uterus that contacts the upper vagina. Cervical cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix grow abnormally and invade other tissues and organs of the body. When it is invasive, this cancer affects the deeper tissues of the cervix and may have spread to other parts of the body (metastasis), most notably the lungs, liver, bladder, vagina, and rectum. Cervical cancer remains a common cause of cancer and cancer death in women in developing countries without access to screening (Pap testing) for cervical cancer or vaccines against Human Papilloma Virus (HPVs). However, cervical cancer is slow-growing, so its progression through precancerous changes provides opportunities for prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Having said this, there are some generally believed myths about cervical cancer which are not totally true or not true at all. Few myth and truth are discussed below;
MYTH 1: I need a Pap Test every year.
TRUTH 1: If your Pap and HPV tests are both normal, you don’t need to get a Pap test every year. The following screening guidelines for women with previously normal Pap and HPV test result are recommended;
- Aged 21-29: Pap test every three years.
- Aged 30-64: Pap test and HPV tests every five years
- Aged 65 and older: Speak with your doctor about whether you need to continue Pap and HPV tests.
MYTH 2: HPV isn’t that common, it only affects people with multiple partners, so I don’t need to worry about the HPV vaccine or HPV test.
TRUTH 2: HPV is very common. Approximately 80% of men and women are infected with HPV at some point in their lifetime.
MYTH 3: The HPV infection clears up on its own.
TRUTH 3: HPV infection clears up in most people without them knowing they were exposed. However, in some people, the infection persists and can lead to serious health problems such as genital warts and several types of cancer including cervical cancer.
MYTH 4: I can’t have children now that I’ve had cervical cancer.
TRUTH 4: Yes, cervical cancer patients typically undergo a hysterectomy and/or chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the pelvic area. But there are a lot of new treatment options that enable our doctors to spare patients’ fertility so they can become parents.
MYTH 5: Cervical cancer is hereditary.
TRUTH 5: Though some female cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer are passed down from parent to child, cervical cancer is not. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV, so the best way to make sure your kids don’t get it is to ensure they get the HPV vaccine.
MYTH 6: Cervical cancer cannot be prevented.
TRUTH 6: Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is an absolute requirement for cervical cancer to develop. This virus is transmitted sexually, but the majority of the most worrisome types of infection can be prevented with a newly available vaccine. Preventing HPV infection dramatically reduces a woman’s risk of cervical cancer. In addition, cervical cancer usually develops shortly after persistent infection with HPV and will first appear as a precancerous condition called dysplasia. If detected at this stage, it can be effectively treated to prevent cervical cancer from developing. Screening with Pap smears and tests for HPV detect these precancerous conditions so patients are treated early.
MYTH 7: I am too young to worry about cervical cancer.
TRUTH 7: The average age of cervical cancer patients is 48years. While it’s not common, women can be diagnosed in their 20s. HPV infection and the precancerous condition dysplasia are common in younger women.
MYTH 8: I don’t have intercourse, so I don’t need the HPV vaccine.
TRUTH 8: HPV can be passed from one partner to another through intercourse, as well as orally and through touching.
It is better and safer to get screened and tested to avoid having cancer. Early detection saves lives.
The representative of CEO, Access to Basic Medical Care Foundation, Mrs. Dolapo Oyedipe during her address, said that the issue with human trafficking needed a concerted effort to handle because of the means devised by a trafficker to recruit victims.
Mrs Dolapo Oyedipe said the treatment victims faced serves as a major reason for this advocacy, urging the trafficking has to be eradicated. She added that the governor’s wife is passionate about the welfare of women, their health, social, physical, emotional and psychological state. impact it has on the victims.
On that note, Mrs. Ajimobi acquired a Cobas 4800 machine for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) screening in order to enable women to detect cervical cancer early.
She advised that every sexually active woman should go for HPV screening regularly.
She also urged them to go for regular screening as early detection of any life-threatening disease can be treated and cured like any other health condition.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation in the state, Mrs. Atinuke Osunkoya and the Convener of the Initiative, Dr. Ama Onyerinma also gave their speech at the event.