Better to know it now, not to regret later; Cervical cancer awareness month

Updated: Jan 9

Author: Anh Doan (Vietnam)

As we get close to the year 2021, I would like to say “goodbye” to 2020 — a year with a lot of tragedies, uncertainty, and disappointment as soon as possible. With the first month of a new year coming, we celebrate the awareness of cervical cancer — one of the dangerous illnesses towards women. Stay with Reimagining Society to discover more about this cancer to broaden your horizons about symptoms and how to prevent suffering from it.

According to Mayo Clinic, cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The most cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. When exposed to HPV, the body's immune system typically prevents the virus from harming. In a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.

There are several symptoms that you need to know. In the early-stage, cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms. However, more-advanced cervical cancer includes vaginal bleeding after intercourse between periods or after menopause; watery, boldly vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor; and pelvic pain or pain during intercourse. The best action suggested taking is to make an appointment with the doctor right away if you recognize any signs or symptoms.

To prevent the risk of cervical cancer, first of all, consider taking the HPV vaccine. Receiving a vaccination to prevent HPV infection may reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Ask your doctor whether an HPV vaccine is appropriate for you. Secondly, have routine Pap tests — which can detect the precancerous condition of the cervix. Therefore, they can be monitored or treated right away. Next, practicing safe sex such as using a condom every time while having sex, not having many sexual partners, and not having early sexual activity could reduce the percentage of suffering from cervical cancer. Finally, not smoking could positively affect your health, because smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.

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Getting to know and ready for cervical cancer is a great way to prevent it. Since cervical cancer kills about 270,000 women every year, cervical cancer awareness or its awareness month is a significant opportunity for young girls and women around the world to understand the dangerous virus and illness to avoid themselves suffering through this, according to Cervical cancer prevention and the Millennium Development Goals by Scott Wittet and Vivien Tsu from World Health Organization. More particularly, girls and women in developing countries should be more aware of this cancer due to the lack of cervical cancer screening programs in those countries — the same programs that are taken for granted in Australia, Europe, and the United States of America.

Now, as the COVID-19 virus happens, it has been doubled the pressure resulting from the fact that you could be infected from two viruses at the same time. Therefore, making sure those preventions above are taken seriously to protect yourself from one of those viruses. Less serious than the COVID-19 virus, the HPV resulting in cervical cancer still imposes impacts on poverty, education, and gender equity. Many of those suffering from cancer who die are breadwinners and caretakers of both children and elders. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa women head one-third of all households, and in Botswana, over half of the children who have lost a parent are being cared for by grandmothers – women also at risk of cervical cancer, cited from Botswana situation analysis on orphans and vulnerable children by Nannies M.Ramabu in 2003. Moreover, cervical cancer deaths have significant economic costs over the short- and long-term (though these are seldom considered when calculating the financial burden of disease). Family members may lose work opportunities and can incur overwhelming medical costs while caring for women with cancer, resulting in poverty. As poverty increases, more children (especially girls) may be kept out of school for lack of school fees, books, or uniforms. Concluding, cervical cancer leads to as serious consequences as COVID-19. With two viruses, the risk to the worst scenario will even be more likely to happen.

Additionally, as the world experiments with citizens with COVID-19 vaccines and stays focused on that, getting other vaccinations is more challenging. Therefore, taking alternative actions to prevent as listed above, and researching cervical cancer is the most crucial action you should take right now. Know it now and not regret it later.

Written by Anh Doan who is a Global Wellbeing Envoy of Reimagining Society from Vietnam and currently having her schooling at the USA Edited by MD Talebur Islam, Co-founder, Executive Strategic Director at Reimagining Society Do you want to publish your article in our blog section? Please, feel free to contact us with your article to We will be delightedly publishing yours if it matches our criteria.

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