By: Amanda Anderson
Cervical Cancer is known as the silent killer of women of all backgrounds and racial groups. While it may not be the number one cause of death amongst women, it is surely an illness that has already taken many lives. Cervical Cancer is the third most common cancer in women. One of the biggest concerns of the illness is the lack of knowledge most women have concerning causes and preventive measures. Most medical researchers are still in the process of determining all the causes of the deadly disease, but early research findings have linked one’s sexual history to the probability of developing the cancer.
According to research, the number of sexual partners a woman has had in her lifetime plays a huge role in the likelihood of developing the cancer. Studies show that women who have had multiple sexual partners are at more risk of contracting cervical cancer than women who do not have multiple partners.
Multiple sex partners increases a woman’s chances of developing the cancer because women who have multiple partners are more likely to contract HPV (Human papillomavirus). HPV is one of the most significant causes in cervical cancer. Although there are about 46 types of HPV, there is a type that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. This type of HPV can cause abnormal cell growth, which eventually becomes cervical cancer. Almost all cases of the cancer are caused by HPV.
In addition, a woman is greatly at risk if she sleeps with a man who has had many sexual partners. Not only is a man with a history of many partners more likely to transmit HPV, but he can also transmit cervical cancer from a partner who has the cancer.
Another important factor of a woman’s sexual history that can play a factor in being diagnosed with cervical cancer is the age she began to have sex. Research findings indicate that women who started having sex before the age of 18 are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Although cervical cancer is deadly, it is 100% preventable.
Pap smears play a huge role in saving lives. Most women discover the cancer from pap smears. If abnormal cells are found from a pap smear, a colposcopy will be crucial to determine if a woman has developed cancer. Women should get pap smears as soon as they become sexually active, or at the age of 20 if they are not sexually active.
Safe sex is also a way to prevent developing cervical cancer. There are female and male condoms on the market now, and condoms can prevent the risk of HPV. It is also important to know that HPV can be transmitted through oral sex and skin contact. So be sure to wear a condom during oral sex and make sure your partner has been tested for HPV before any foreplay.
There are also vaccines available to prevent cervical cancer. In 2006, Gardisil was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine prevents the two forms of HPV that lead to cancer.
Smoking also causes cervical cancer. If you are a smoker, quit immediately.
While these methods are great preventive measures, the best way to protect yourself is to limit the number of sexual partners that you have. Celibacy is the best way, but the less sexual partners you have, the lower your risk may be. Also refrain from having sex with men who engage in risky sexual activities and have a high number or sexual partners.
Protect yourself and remember that your life is worth it.