Most of the time, early cervical cancer has no symptoms.
Symptoms that may occur over time can include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, vaginal bleeding in between menstrual periods or after menopause, or abnormal vaginal discharge which may be blood-stained or foul-smelling.
Learn more about the preventive measures with Dr Kelly Loi’s expert advice.
Will changing my lifestyle help reduce the risk of cervical cancer?
You can reduce your risk of by living healthily. Practice safe sex, and avoid or quit smoking. All women aged 25 and up should also go for regular Pap smears, as most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had regular Pap smears, or have not followed up on abnormal Pap results. Or, ask your doctor about the newer HPV test (for human papilloma virus), which only needs to be done about every five years.
What are the benefits of HPV vaccination?
HPV vaccination protects people against specific HPV strains, which can trigger cervical cancer as well as genital warts. There are many different strains of HPV – some have a higher risk of causing cervical cancer.
The vaccine is most effective before there is any infection, with the maximum benefit occurring when the vaccines are given before the start of sexual activity. As such, the HPV vaccine is approved for use in girls and boys from the age of 9. Sexually active women may still benefit, as they may not have been exposed to the HPV sub-types covered by the vaccine.
After vaccination, it is important to continue going for regular Pap or HPV tests, as the vaccine does not provide protection against all cancer-causing HPV strains.
From The Finder (Issue 296) , January 2019
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