As per the World Health Organization, cervical cancer ranks among the fourth most prevalent cancers in women across the globe, with approximately 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths reported in 2020. The incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer are particularly high in low and middle-income countries. This highlights the significance of disparities resulting from limited access to national HPV vaccination, cervical screening, treatment services, and various social and economic factors.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. The first step in preventing disease is to understand its symptoms and risks. The World Health Organization has updated its guidelines, which offer several approaches to cervical screening, and made some significant changes. Specifically, it suggests that an HPV DNA test can be used as the best approach others being visual inspection using acetic acid (VIA) or cytology (often called a “Pap smear”), which are currently the most widely used techniques in the world for identifying pre-cancerous lesions.

Cancer Symptoms In Women Prevention Tips: 5 Lifestyle Changes To Stay Safe From Cervical Cancer At Any Age | Stock Photo
Cancer Symptoms In Women Prevention Tips: 5 Lifestyle Changes To Stay Safe From Cervical Cancer At Any Age | Stock Photo

Cervical Cancer: Prevention and Screening Methods

It is also recommended to take the HPV vaccination to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is a powerful tool for prevention of not only cervical cancer but also vaginal vulvar cancers. In countries where universal immunization has been implemented cervical cancer rates have been brought down drastically. Young girls in the age of 9-14 years should receive cervical cancer. Also, those who have missed a catch-up vaccination can take it later in their 20’even 30’s . It is most effective when administered before becoming sexually active. Women in their 20s should prioritize Pap smears and routine medical check-ups. HPV testing and routine Pap smears become essential for women in their 30s.

To reduce the risk of developing various forms of cancer in women, especially gynecological and breast cancers, consider following these prevention tips:

  1. Don’t Use Tobacco: Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as they significantly increase the risk of lung cancer.
  2. Eat a Healthy Diet: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and focus on healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil. A Mediterranean diet has shown potential benefits for reducing breast cancer risk.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity raises the risk of several cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer and endometrial cancer.
  4. Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Regular exercise supports maintaining a healthy body weight and overall wellness.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake: Even moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of breast cancer.
  6. Manage Hormone Therapy: Be cautious with combination hormone therapy (estrogen plus progestin) and discuss alternatives with healthcare providers.
  7. Choose Healthy Birth Control Options: Consider non-hormonal contraception methods, as hormonal ones may slightly raise breast cancer risk.
  8. Follow Screening Guidelines: Adhere to appropriate screening guidelines for cervical cancer (Pap smear and HPV test) and consult with healthcare professionals regarding breast cancer screening recommendations based on personal risk factors.
  9. Get HPV Vaccination: Receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to decrease the risk of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.
  10. Consider Genetic Counseling: Discuss family history with healthcare providers and consider genetic counseling and testing if warranted.

While these measures can help reduce cancer risk, they do not guarantee complete protection. Regular self-examinations and routine checkups with healthcare professionals are crucial for early detection and successful treatment outcomes.

Regular Health Check-ups & Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle

A fruit and vegetable-rich diet can strengthen the immune system and improve general health for anyone. Along with a healthy diet, including exercise in your routine can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall well-being. Regular visits to the doctor can ensure early detection and immediate treatment for the patient.

It is important to keep in mind that these are only general recommendations and that specific situations may differ. Women in India can considerably lower the incidence of cervical cancer by taking preventative measures, remaining informed, and visiting their doctor for routine examinations.