The Other Big C
Take these steps to prevent C-word stress
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.