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Cervical Cancer Screening

Cervical Cancer Screening

Do you know?

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in India. Cervical cancer is the only cancer which is preventable by taking a vaccine . It can be detected very early in precancerous stage with help of a simple screening test and when the cancer is diagnosed early the cancer is treatable completely.

What is a screening test?

Screening tests helps us to diagnose and treat the disease before the symptoms arise

What is cervical cancer screening?

Cervical cancer screening is an important part of routine health care for all women. The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to identify the microscopic precancerous cells in cervix, when treatment can prevent cervical cancer from developing. Sometimes, early or late cervical cancer is also found during cervical screening.

Any cancer diagnosed at early stages or in precancerous stages is easy to treat, as the stage advances treatment gets prolonged and complicated. Because in later stages the cancer spreads to other organs.

Three main ways to screen for cervical cancer:

  1.  Pap smear test (conventional Pap smear/ liquid based cytology) collects cervical cells with the help of a spatula and brush so they can be checked for changes caused by HPV(human papilloma virus) that may—if left untreated—turn into cervical cancer.
    1. It can find precancerous cells and cervical cancer cells.
    2. A Pap test also sometimes finds conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation (in which case the test is repeated after 2-3 weeks of treatment)
  2. HPV-DNA test checks cells for infection with high risk HPV types that can cause cervical cancer (HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, and 59)
  3. The HPV& Pap – co test uses an HPV test and Pap test together to check for both high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes.

When to get screened for cervical cancer

The frequency of screening for cervical cancer and which tests you should get will depend on your age and health history.

Even the vaccinated women should undergo screening tests according to the schedule

Age 21-29 years

Pap testing is recommended to begin at the age of 21yr for all sexually active women, and continued every 3 years thereafter.

Pap testing is not recommended before 21 even if you are sexually active.

Age 30-65 years

For this age group it is recommended to get screened for cervical cancer using one of the following methods:

  1. HPV test every 5 years
  2. HPV/Pap co test every 5 years
  3. Pap test every 3 years

Aged older than 65 years

Screening for cervical cancer is not needed beyond 65 years if your last 3 Pap tests were normal. However, if your recent test results were abnormal or you have not been screened regularly, you may need to continue screening beyond age 65.

Exceptions to the cervical cancer screening guidelines

Your health care provider may recommend more frequent screening if you

  • are HIV positive
  • have a weakened immune system
  • were exposed before birth to a medicine called diethyl stilbestrol (DES)
  • had a recent abnormal cervical screening test or biopsy result
  • have had cervical cancer
  • family history of cervical cancer

If you’ve had an operation to remove both the uterus and cervix (called a total hysterectomy) for reasons not related to cancer or abnormal cervical cells you do not need to be screened for cervical cancer. However, if your hysterectomy was related to cervical cancer or pre cancer, talk with your health care provider to learn what follow-up care you need. If you’ve had an operation to remove the uterus but not the cervix (sometimes called a partial or supra cervical hysterectomy) you should continue routine cervical cancer screening.

Where to get screened for cervical cancer

Doctors' offices, clinics, and community health centre offer HPV and Pap tests.

Most people receive these tests from their ob/gyn (obstetrics/gynaecology)

Cervical screening test results usually come back from the lab in about 1-3 weeks. If you don't hear from your health care provider, call and ask for your test results. Make sure you understand any follow-up visits or tests you may need.

What to expect during a cervical cancer screening test

Cervical cancer screening tests are usually done during a pelvic exam which takes only a few minutes. The health care provider uses a speculum to gently open your vagina to see the cervix. A soft, narrow brush or tiny spatula is used to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix.

The sample is then sent to a lab, where the cells can be checked to see if they are infected with the types of HPV that cause cancer (an HPV test). The same sample can be checked for abnormal cells (a Pap test). When both an HPV test and a Pap test are done on the same sample, this is called an HPV/Pap co test.

A pelvic exam may include more than taking samples for an HPV and/or Pap test. Your health care provider may also check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries and feel for any lumps or cysts. Our doctors and nursing staff will tell you what to expect at each step of the exam, so you will be at ease.

Does cervical cancer screening have any risks?

Cervical cancer screening saves lives. Very few people screened for cervical cancer at routine intervals develop cervical cancer. Screening can detect cervical changes early, lowering a person’s chance of dying from cervical cancer. But it also has some amount of false positive rates.

How to prevent cervical cancer?

HPV vaccine (CERVARIX, GARDASIL, GARDASIL-9)

Dosage schedule for 9yr to14yr girls- 2 doses of vaccine 6 months apart.

Dosage schedule for 15yr till 45yr- 3 doses of vaccine 0, 2, 6 months.

The ideal age for vaccination is before a person is sexually active.

Research has shown that receiving the vaccine at a young age isn't linked to an earlier start of sexual activity.

Sexually active and parous women who couldn’t take vaccine in adolescence can also take the vaccine till 45yr of age. For them vaccine will prevent the infection from new HPV strains.

Breastfeeding women can take the vaccine

The FDA approved the use of Gardasil 9 for males and females ages 9 to 45. If you're ages 27 to 45, discuss your risks with your healthcare team. Together you can decide if you should get the HPV vaccine.

Who should not get the HPV vaccine?

Vaccine is contraindicated in pregnant women.

The HPV vaccine is not recommended if a person had an allergic reaction after the first HPV shot, or if a person has severe, life-threatening allergies.

Also, people who are moderately or severely ill should wait until they feel better to get vaccinated for HPV.

What are the other advantages of taking HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine protects against genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer.

It protects against cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis or anus caused by HPV. The HPV vaccine also protects against mouth, throat, head and neck cancers caused by HPV.

The vaccine gives the body a safe way to build immune system awareness of some HPV strains. This means the body has an easier time clearing out those strains of the virus if a person catches them later.

Does the HPV vaccine offer benefits if you're already sexually active?

People who are sexually active should talk with their healthcare team about the benefits of getting an HPV vaccine.

Most people catch HPV soon after they become sexually active. But even if you have one strain of HPV, you might still benefit from the vaccine. It can protect you from other strains that you don't yet have.

But none of the vaccines can treat an existing HPV infection. The vaccines protect you only from specific strains of HPV you don't have.

Does the HPV vaccine carry any health risks or side effects?

The HPV vaccine has been found to be safe in many studies.

Overall, the effects tend to be mild. The most common side effects of HPV vaccines include soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site.

Do women who've received the HPV vaccine still need to have Pap tests?

Yes. The HPV vaccine doesn't replace Pap tests. Screening for cervical cancer with regular Pap tests starting at age 21 is an essential part of preventive healthcare.

MANNAT CLINIC CANCER SCREENING PROGRAMME

Here at Mannat fertility and gynaecology clinic every Tuesday 2PM- 4PM.

We have a dedicated time slot for cervical cancer screening, awareness and vaccination programme.

For appointments call 08042019651, 08042019652.

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