How to Prevent Cervical Cancer

(Originally Posted on Mar 11, 2016)

When women think of cancer prevention, often we think about breast cancer because it has more exposure. Men and women across the nation have worked hard to ensure there is plenty of literature available on the topic, and it even has a month dedicated to informing the public of its seriousness. However, it’s important that you take the time also to think about preventing cervical cancer.

The signs include issues like pain during intercourse, abnormal discharging that may have blood in it, as well as bleeding at times other than your period such as after sex. While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer, if you do notice them, make an appointment with your gynecologist to address them. The best action you can take though is to work towards preventing this type of cancer. Here are a few ways how.

PAP and HPV test

One reason it’s so crucial that you make your annual checkup is to get your PAP test. The PAP test is one way to alert your doctor that you may have cervical cancer. You can also get an HPV test because Human Papilloma Virus is one of the most common causes of this type of cancer. You can also get an HPV vaccination that will help to prevent the virus and it’s recommended that you get the vaccination before you’ve had a chance to be exposed to the virus. And while it doesn’t work to prevent every version of the virus, it does offer you a substantial amount of protection.

Safe sex

Because HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, and it’s most commonly spread by sexual activities, you need to make sure you or your partner wears a condom. You don’t have to have intercourse to spread the virus. It can happen from skin to skin contact in your genital area. It’s important you understand that the pill and many other forms of birth control designed to prevent pregnancy will not protect you against HPV.

Lifestyle changes

As with almost all cancers, your lifestyle is going to play a big role in preventing them. If you smoke, drink heavily, have sedentary days, and don’t eat the right foods, you run a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. It’s tough to change your lifestyle in a day, so make small changes such as incorporating one cancer-fighting vegetable per meal or not smoking after a certain hour. Over time, you’ll find yourself with more good habits than bad. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the added bonus of having more energy and feeling great about yourself.

Talk to your gynecologist

If you think you’ve seen the signs of cervical cancer, you have a family history of it, or you just want to learn more about it, then make an appointment with your gynecologist. Even when you do online research and think you have an understanding of cancer, you won’t be able to gain the insight and information you would from your doctor. Contact us today at 561-434-0111, or visit us at our locations in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, or Palm Beach Garden and let us put your health first.

Dr. Marcela Lazo

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