There are many things that women can do to for cervical cancer prevention. The most common form of cervical cancer begins with precancerous changes to the cervix. So there are ways in which women can help to prevent themselves from developing cervical cancer.
The first thing that women can do to help prevent ever getting cervical cancer is to avoid being exposed to the HPV virus. Certain sexual behavior INCREASES the chances that girls will be exposed to the HPV virus. These risky behaviors include:
- Having sex at a young age
- Having several sexual partners
- Having a partner who has had several sex partners
- Having sex with uncircumcised males
Some other steps that women can take so they can avoid getting cervical cancer are:
- Delay sex: Delaying sex means that you will help limit the number of sexual partners you have.
- Use condoms: Condoms do not provide 100% protection against the HPV virus or against cervical cancer, but they do provide about 70% protection.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking increases the risk of getting all kinds of cancers. Don’t start smoking, and if you already smoke, quit….NOW!
About three years after a woman becomes sexually active, she needs to begin having cervical cancer screening by having a pap test done at least once a year. After a woman is 30 years old and has had at least three normal pap test results, she can then decrease the screening to once every 2 to 3 years.
Let’s be clear. Breast cancer prevention CANNOT be totally guaranteed — at least not yet. However, there are steps that women can take that will significantly decrease the risk of getting breast cancer as well as greatly increase the chances of surviving it should breast cancer be contracted.
Let’s discuss preventive measures first. If you avoid the use of alcohol, if you exercise regularly, and if you maintain a healthy body weight, you will be decreasing your risk of getting breast cancer. Breast-feeding your baby for several months after he is born seems to also reduce the risk of breast cancer. Avoiding the use of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) after a hysterectomy or menopause is yet another way to decrease the risk of contracting breast cancer. Everybody knows that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of all kinds of cancers, so never smoking or quitting smoking can also decrease your risk of breast cancer.
It is important to note that just because a woman drinks alcohol, fails to exercise, is obese, never breast feeds, takes HRT drugs and smokes cigarettes as well does NOT mean that she is doomed to get breast cancer. These are merely risk factors that are within the power of a woman to change for herself in order to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
I believe in the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”….but let’s talk about cure anyway.
The number one key to curing breast cancer is early detection. The earlier that breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances are for curing it. Yes, breast cancer CAN be cured.
Some women are at a much greater risk for developing breast cancer than others, and through no fault of their own. Women who have a family history of breast cancer (a mother, a daughter, or a sister who have had breast cancer) are at a much higher risk level than other women, and with that risk factor, it is important that women and their doctors to be extraordinarily vigilant.
What is Cancer? Cancer is not a single disease with a single cause or cure. Cancer is the result when cells divide uncontrollably and invade other nearby tissue in the body. Cancer spreads through the body by way of blood circulation or by the clear fluid that travels through the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infections and other diseases.
There are more than 100 types of cancers, but they are divided into the following main categories:
1. Carcinoma: Carcinoma is cancer that begins on the skin or in tissues that line or cover the internal organs.
2. Sarcoma: Sarcoma is cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective tissue.
3. Leukemia: Leukemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced that then enter the bloodstream.
4. Lymphoma and myeloma: Lymphoma and myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells that make up the immune system.
The body is made up of many different types of cells. Cells grow and divide in a normal and controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed. When cells get old or are damaged, they die and then they are replaced with new cells.
When this normal process goes wrong (the genetic material — DNA — of a cell becomes damaged or changed) the body begins producing mutations that affect normal cell growth. The result is that cells don’t die when they should, and new cells form when the body doesn’t need them. These extra and mutated cells then can form a mass of tissue that is called a tumor.
All tumors are not cancerous. Most tumors are benign. “Benign” means that the tumor is not cancerous. Tumors that are cancerous are called “malignant” tumors.