Cervical cancer remains one of South Africa’s biggest women’s health problems, affecting one out of 41 South African women. It is estimated that this disease kills approximately 8 women in the country every day.
A Pap smear is a simple, quick, and essentially painless screening procedure that tests for cancer or precancer of the uterine cervix.
Pap smears are a vitally important part of an international screening programme. This enables medical practitioners to pick up disease or cancer before the person shows any signs or symptoms, making it much easier to treat and a complete cure is likely.
The Wold Health Organisation has found that there is a reduction in the cumulative incidence of cervical cancer by 94% with annual screening.
Cancer of the cervix is thought to be associated with certain strains of a sexually transmitted virus human papillomavirus (HPV). Progression of the disease is slow and may take up to 10-20 years before the disease becomes invasive. Therefore, it is so important to pick it up through your annual check-up as it can be treated before it progresses further.
There are certain other factors which have also been shown to play a role:
- Don’t smoke! There is evidence that women who smoke are more susceptible to cervical cancer.
- Use barrier methods (condoms) to prevent the transmission of the HPV and other sexually transmitted viruses.
- Manage any other sexual transmitted diseases
Finally, HAVE ANUAL PAP EXAMS.
Contact Femina Health to book your annual pap smear screening NOW!
Contributor: Dr Susan Ford