WiRED International Recognizes Cervical Cancer Awareness Month




o woman should die of cervical cancer. If caught early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers.


Cervical cancer begins on the surface of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus — and if untreated the cancer invades the cervix more deeply to trigger either benign or malignant growths. Benign growths are easily treated, but malignant growths can be life-threatening and spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph vessels.


Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a virus called the human papilloma virus or HPV, which can be transmitted to the cervix through unprotected sexual intercourse. Most HPV infections go away on their own while others develop into cervical cancer.


A woman’s risk of cervical cancer lessens if she gets the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 and 26 years, before becoming sexually active. However, receiving the vaccine is not enough. Early cervical cancers usually do not have symptoms, so regular screening tests such as Pap smears and biopsies (if indicated) are still necessary to reduce risk and lead to diagnosis and early treatment.


Treatment depends on the progression of the cancer, so options can involve minor or major surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of all these choices. It is important to understand treatment selections and how they may affect issues such as a woman’s ability to get pregnant afterwards.


WiRED offers two modules in its cancer series for grassroots audiences. Part 1 covers all topics related to cervical cancer, such as the cervix, cancer cells, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and staging (the extent of the cancer). Part 2 covers treatment available to women, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, as well as the importance of nutrition and follow-up care.


This January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. WiRED urges all women to get educated about this preventable cancer.





Cervical Cancer Quiz (from WiRED’s Cervical Cancer modules)


1. True or False? Early cervical cancers usually do not cause symptoms.

 a. True
 b. False

2. How can a woman’s risk of cervical cancer be reduced?

 a. By getting screening tests
 b. By using the birth control pill
 c. By douching frequently

3. Cervical cancer begins in cells in the deep tissues of the cervix. True or false?

 a. True
 b. False



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