The 4th of February is observed as cancer day worldwide. Let me take this opportunity to make a small awareness about a few cancers that are common in women. Cervical cancer comes under the gynecologic cancers category and breast cancer which is actually more common, as well as famous to an extent. Gynecologic cancers are actually an elaborate one which we all should learn as it happens exclusively to us!
People have concerns rather than awareness. You yourself might have worried many times when you fall sick or see a wound that is not healing. I am not joking, sometimes small moles and bumps formed due to insect bite get misunderstood and worried. Especially in these times when every symptom researched online ends with a result saying that you have cancer. Though cancers are common, most of them are curable and some are preventable. Hereditary factors, lifestyle, etc also determine a person’s probability of having some cancers.
Anyway, science and technology are evolved so well and hopefully, it is going to be better in the future too. Cancer treatment and recovery benefit a lot if they are detected early. Some of them can be prevented when the chances of having it in the future are checked. Cervical cancer and breast cancers can be detected with simple steps. These are painless methods, every sexually active woman are suggested to take these test every three years or according to the suggestion of your doctor.
Early Detection of Cervical Cancer
This cancer affecting the cervix is one of the most preventable cancers existing. Mostly, abnormal cell changes that begin in the cervix years before cervical cancer develops. I hope you know that these cell changes are caused by the Human Papillomavirus, usually known as HPV. Pap test has been the conventional test for early detection of cervical cancer. For women aged 30 and over, an HPV test is also advised. HPV tests can locate any of the high-risk types of HPV that are usually present in cervical cancer.
Pap tests are simple and can change your faith if any detection happened in an early stage. The Pap test finds variations in the cells of the cervix that are not normal. When a female has a Pap test, cells are collected gently by brushing a spatula in the cervix. The cells are sent to a laboratory where they are equipped and evaluated under a microscope.
The Pap test looks for any unusual or precancerous alterations in the cells on the cervix. If the Pap test results show these cell mutations, it simply means that abnormalities are detected. Most of the time, these cell changes are because of HPV. all such conditions may not refer to cancer but it means that her healthcare provider will closely monitor her cervix regularly and treatment to prevent further cell changes that could become cancerous over time if left ignored.
The HPV test is performed at the same time as the Pap test with a small soft brush to collect cervical cells that are sent to the laboratory, or the HPV testing sample may be taken straight from the Pap sample.
An HPV test is now an option for primary cervical cancer screening which means it can be done alone without a Pap test. The test is usually followed by a Pap test for women with certain results. Don’t worry about which alternative is the best one for you. Your healthcare provider will help you with which option is right for you.
Modified Pap smears for ovarian and endometrial cancers detection
Modified Pap smears enable early detection of two deadly gynecologic cancers. The Pap test has already decreased the rate of cervical cancer by more than 60%. Now it may aid in the early detection of gynecologic malignancies, ovarian and endometrial cancers that are usually diagnosed late.
New researches have found that by genetically examining the harvest of cells from a Pap smear, doctors could distinguish 81% of endometrial cancers and 33% of ovarian cancers. Some of those cancers found were in their earliest stages which makes treatment short and more effective. A longer brush that sweeps cells from the lining of the uterus, they positively identified endometrial cancer in more than 90% of cases and ovarian cancer in more than 40% of cases successful.
Early Detection of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is sometimes discovered after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no indications. This is why routine breast cancer screening is so essential. Detecting breast cancer earlier makes recovery faster and avoid spreading. Unlike the previously discussed cancers, this could happen to men also!
Breast exams can be done at home individually, but if you are not sure a clinical breast exam is suggested. A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional who is qualified to recognize many different types of abnormalities and caution signs. Family physicians or gynecologists are usually approached for clinical breast examination, whereas your breast self-exam is something every woman should do at once a month at home. Do not leave it unattended thinking that it is funny, It is something really serious that can be avoided with the simplest steps.
During a clinical breast exam, your healthcare provider checks your breasts’ condition. The skin concealing your breasts, areolae are checked for any rash, dimpling, or other unusual signs.
The entire breast, underarm, and collarbone area are checked for any lumps or irregularities. A doubtful lump that is about the size of a pea before anyone can feel it in the breast tissue. Your healthcare provider will also check the lymph nodes near the breast to see if they are grown.
If a lump is found, your healthcare provider will note its size, shape, and texture. She will also check to see if the lump moves smoothly. Benign lumps often feel distinct from cancerous ones, but any lump found will likely need to be tested with the further procedure prescribed by your doctor.
An x-ray picture of the breast is known as the mammogram. Doctors use a mammogram to detect early indications of breast cancer. Routine mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early. With a mammogram, breast cancers can be discovered as early as 3 years.
Mammograms are done by positioning x-ray plates on two sides and pressing to get an image. people who have undergone mammograms experience a little pressure. The steps are replicated to make a side view of the breast also. Any abnormalities found will be discussed and further steps will be recommended.
Knowledge about cancer prevention is evolving. However, your probability of developing cancer is affected by the lifestyle choices you make. So eat healthily, stay fit, and avoid all bad habits moreover get regular health checkups!
Whatever is happening or about to happen in your life, learning some life-supporting measures is never going to be vain. Ayoti arranges life-support training sessions in and around Kochi. We are trying our best to make people achieve practical skills to save lives!