Every year in the UK, approximately 3,000 cervical cancer cases are discovered. Despite these alarming rates, 99.8% of the cases are curable and treatable if detected early. How to prevent cervical cancer? Overall, the best defence against cervical cancer is to get regular cervical screenings to help prevent cervical cancer.
Cervical screening is available to women for free on the NHS to all women from 25 to 64 years old. It may take around two weeks for you to receive your results.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer can arise from the cervix; this is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer progresses when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled manner. It can affect any person of any age, but it mainly affects women from 30 to 45 years old. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the number one cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus in the UK: 8 out of 10 people will likely get it during their lifetime. It is transmitted via sexual contact and commonly lives on the skin. In most cases, HPV is harmless and will go away on its own without causing any serious issues. Nonetheless, there are around 13 types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Check out this informative infographic.
The infographic explains how to prevent cervical cancer and dispels the many myths and misunderstandings around the disease. One of the foremost being that cervical screenings checks for cervical cancer, which is false. The primary purpose of cervical screening tests is to check your cervix’s health and identify if any cell changes have occurred.
Another myth circulating for years is that smoking is not linked to cervical cancer, even though there is no research to support this. Smoking increases the risk of you developing cervical cancer. Around 20% of cervical cancer in the UK are linked to smoking.
In the UK, almost 1 in 4 women do not attend their cervical screening appointments. You must attend your cervical screening when invited, as it plays a vital role in detecting cervical changes early and preventing cervical cancer.