Cervical cancer is not uncommon. Women between ages 30 – 54 are usually affected by this disease. Though cervical cancer can be managed when diagnosed at early stages and can be prevented using vaccines and adapting healthy lifestyle, there are some common misconceptions about the disease. The truth behind the common fallacies is given here. Read on.
Myths About Cervical Cancer:
1. Results In Fatality
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, but not all types of cancer would result in a fatal ending. Of course, cancer causes intolerable pain and dreadful symptoms but most types of cancer are curable with the right treatment. Though cervical cancer is difficult to overcome, it is not an incurable disease. When diagnosed in early stages, it can be managed successfully. Hence regular screening is very important.
2. HPV Positive Means Cervical Cancer
HPV is an infection that is common in both genders and is a sexually transmitted infection. Many are affected by HPV during sexual intercourse but the immune system fends off 90 percent of the infection even before symptoms appear. Moreover, not all HPV strains cause cervical cancer. HPV positive means the virus is present in the system and the chances of developing cervical cancer are slightly high. So, appropriate screening is must.
3. Cervical Cancer Can Not Be Managed
Cervical cancer does not develop overnight. At the start, cervical cells become abnormal, which is called precancerous cells. By healing these abnormal cells and removing them, cervical cancer can be prevented. Screening tests called Pap smear detects precancerous cells. Doing a HPV test to identify the HPV strains is also important to prevent the development of cancer. HPV vaccines are also given to women between ages 11 – 26 to prevent the disease. Another simple way to prevent the disease is by adapting to a healthy lifestyle such as avoiding smoking, practicing safe sex, etc.
4. Annual Pap Smear Is Essential For All Women
Most women generally feel that Pap smear once a year is essential and the more the number of tests, the better it is. This is not actually true because too many tests can result in unwanted complications. The American Cancer Society has suggested screening guidelines depending on age and previous test results which says annual screening is not necessary. If you feel you are at risk of developing cervical cancer, it is better to talk to your gynecologist.
5. It is Contagious
As mentioned above, HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection and is highly contagious. However, cancer cells are not contagious and do not spread to a healthy person from a person who has it. Germs are contagious but not cancer cells.