Cervical Cancer is a Form of Cancer Which Develops in the Cervix.

It is regarded as the 4th most prominent cancer among women. It can be treated and recovered from, provided it is diagnosed at an early stage. HPV or Human Papillomavirus infection is the major cause of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer gradually develops over time. Hence, regular screening to detect it early can help eliminate it from the body, while preventing complications. One of the most common tests used for screening of cervical cancer is the Pap Smear Test - also known as cervical cytology.

This cancer usually initiates in the lower portion of the uterus that links to vagina. HPV infection, which is the major cause for this deadly cancer, is usually contracted through sexual contact.
Some other factors which may cause this infection include: having a weak immune system, consuming oral contraceptives,Imagesmoking cigarettes, among many other reasons.

Signs of a progressive cervical cancer can be identified if one has blood in the vaginal discharge, or bleeds after intercourse /between periods and sustained pain/pelvic pain during intercourse.

There are many people who wish to understand which screening test must be undertaken to detect this cancer at an early stage. As per Dr. Prerna Agarwal, Manager Technical Operations at Apollo Diagnostics, A Pap Smear test includes collecting cells from one’s cervix. The test analyses the changes in these cells to determine if they can become cancerous later. The test result, if negative, ensures that no precancerous or cancerous cells are present in the cervix. In case of abnormal test result values, presence of cancerous cells may be confirmed and treated promptly to prevent further advancement of these cells.

In case of HPV tests, cells are collected from the cervix to check the DNA or RNA, and determine if HPV infection is present in these strains.

The HPV test is recommended by WHO over visual examination or pap smear, owing to its cost effectiveness.

Dr Prerna recommends that one can get tested for Pap Smear along with HPV, right from the age of 30. After that, this test can be taken every five years. She emphasized on taking these tests when one is not in their menstrual cycle. Also, one must avoid intercourse, the use of any lubricants or sprays around the vaginal area and not indulge in douching, when one intends to take these tests.

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