The Other Big C

Take these steps to pre­vent C-word stress

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY CAR­RIE AN­TON

World­wide, cer­vi­cal cancer is the fourth most fre­quent cancer in women, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion. In South Africa, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cancer Reg­istry, black women are at a greater risk of the cancer and the WHO says that more than 85 per­cent of deaths by cer­vi­cal cancer hap­pen in less de­vel­oped re­gions, like ours. The rea­son? Our in­fra­struc­ture of­ten pri­ori­tises im­me­di­ate con­cerns, rather than fo­cus­ing on pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures, like rou­tine Pap smears – the test that checks for pre­can­cer­ous cells. Hu­man papil­lo­mavirus (HPV), one of the most com­mon STIs – and the one that al­most al­ways causes cer­vi­cal cancer – could be elim­i­nated if women just went for reg­u­lar Pap smears. When caught early, cer­vi­cal cancer is highly treat­able, says gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Sheeva Talebian. Even more en­cour­ag­ing: ex­perts be­lieve 93 per­cent of cer­vi­cal can­cers could be pre­vented al­to­gether. Use these six need-to­know facts to help keep your cervix – and your­self – healthy.

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