According to the International Agency or Research on Cancer (GLOBOCAN) statistics (2012), there are about 2,145 new cases of cervical cancer and 621 die from the disease in Malaysia every year.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer is an abnormal cell growth in the lining in the cervix at the lower part of the uterus (womb).
In an interview by the New Straits Times (2016) Dr. Dalilah Kamaruddin (Head of Cancer and Health Screening Clinics of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) states that based on the GLOBOCAN statistics, in every four minutes a woman would die of cervical cancer in the Asia Pacific region, which includes Malaysia.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
It is imperative to know that cervical cancer is the most preventable disease. A risk factor of cervical cancer is infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be spread from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact.'
There are 100 known types of HPV virus of which 13 are designated high risk and have been causally linked with cervical cancer.
- 1 out of 2 sexually active adults would have been infected once in their lifetime
- HPV usually causes no symptoms so you would not know that you had been infected till years later, before it causes problem to your health.
- HPV can affect anyone who had sexual exposure (even those who had only 1 sexual exposure throughout their life, those who are married or in those in a steady and non-promiscuous relationship)
- Type 6 & 11 caused 90% genital warts cases
- Type 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 & 58 caused 90% of cervical cancer cases,
90-95% of anal cancer cases,
90% of vulvar cancer cases,
85% of vaginal cancer cases.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods and having longer or heavier (menstrual) periods than usual).
- An unusual discharge from the vagina - the discharge may contain some blood and may occur between your periods or after menopause.
- Pain during sex (vaginal intercourse).
Can the risk of cervical cancer be reduced?
YES! 2 steps to help prevent the disease from developing the disease
- Vaccinate: get your vaccination as early as 9 years old.
- Get your annual pap test: it is readily available at any clinic and it is easily done within 10 minutes and is almost painless.
If you still have questions you may contact our physician for a consultation to learn more about cervical cancer and the preventive measures.