January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, a time to spread the word about issues related to cervical cancer, including the importance of routine screening and early detection.
Raising awareness is not as hard as you think. Not sure how to start? Here are some quick tidbits about cervical cancer — please share these with the women you know so they, too, can be informed about the disease.
- Cervical cancer occurs when cells in the cervix–the lower part of the uterus–slowly become abnormal. Before cancer develops, the cells of the cervix go through changes called dysplasia, where abnormal cells appear in the cervical tissue. Eventually, cancerous cells begin developing and spreading further into the cervix and to surrounding areas.
- According to the CDC, in 2009 12,357 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with cervical cancer. In that same year, 3,909 women in the U.S. died from the disease.
- There have been several celebrities who have faced cervical cancer. The Huffington Post highlights some of the notable women who have battled cervical cancer.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer, reports the CDC. HPV is spread through sexual contact; it is contracted through skin-to-skin contact, not via bodily fluid. Between 80 and 90 percent of HPV cases will be naturally eliminated and do not lead to cervical cancer.
- Cervical cancer is highly preventable. The disease can be prevented by early detection of precancerous changes in the cervix. That’s why it is critical for women to have yearly Pap smears — no excuses! In addition, cervical cancer can be prevented by an HPV vaccine.
- According to the American Cancer Society, with cervical cancer “symptoms often do not begin until a pre-cancer becomes a true invasive cancer and grows into nearby tissue.” These symptoms can include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having longer or heavier (menstrual) periods than usual. Bleeding after douching, or after a pelvic exam is a common symptom of cervical cancer but not pre-cancer.
- An unusual discharge from the vagina — the discharge may contain some blood and may occur between periods or after menopause.
- Pain during sex (vaginal intercourse).
- The three standard treatment types for cervical cancer are:
- radiation therapy
Do you have debilitating pain after being treated for cervical cancer?
If you are experiencing post-radiation or post-hysterectomy pain, we encourage you to contact us. Our therapists are experts in decreasing and eliminating the adhesions that form in the body in response to these procedures, causing pain and dysfunction. You can request a free phone consultation with a therapist to learn more about your condition and our therapy.