Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women globally. Compared to developed countries, cervical cancer is a public health problem in developing countries. Experts recommend vaccination since the most common cause of cervical cancer is an HPV infection. However, certain lifestyle changes can also help to prevent cervical cancer. Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai, Dr Rajni Gupta, offers some useful tips on how to prevent the disease.
Get the HPV vaccination
An HPV infection is one of the main causes of cervical cancer, so experts recommend getting vaccinated for the same. However, one needs to know that vaccination cannot provide 100 percent protection from HPV infection. The HPV vaccination provides protection from only two strains of the virus. However, those are the most effective. Timely screening for the cancer is still required for timely detection.
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Practice safe sex
Practice safe sex to limit the transmission of the virus, since HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that could increase the risk of cervical cancer. If a woman is not in a monogamous relationship ideally she should insist her sexual partner to wear a condom. This is necessary to prevent the viral attack. An emergency contraceptive will not offer protection against HPV transmission, it may only prevent against unwanted pregnancy.
Daily intake of fruits, vegetables like cauliflower, beans, and whole grains is essential since they can aid in the rebuilding of the cells infected with HPV. Also, cruciferous vegetables are known to help the body develop immunity and fight different kinds of cancer.
Go for screening
Go for yearly pap smear test because it can detect early cervical changes long before the cancer actually starts to develop. In this way, the right precautions can be taken to prevent the onset of cervical cancer.
5. Avoid multiple sexual partners
For the same reason, one should avoid having multiple sexual partners s the risk of getting an HPV infection is high.
READ ALSO: What is Cervical Endometriosis?
Be aware of concerning symptoms
Suspicious cells around the cervix often have no accompanying symptoms. Symptoms only become noticeable in later stage when cervical cancer tends to be more advanced. Symptoms may include:
- Abnormal bleeding or discharge from your vagina
- Bleeding or abnormal pain with sexual intercourse