Despite the growing impact of cervical cancer awareness and education for early screening, still, an increasing number of Malaysian women have fallen prey to the deadly, silent killer “down there”, of what is scientifically known as cervical cancer.
With the rising rate of women developing the disease, cervical cancer has now become the second most widespread cancer among Malaysian women, which is both alarming and terrifyingly scary at the same time.
Here we reveal to you the causes for the disease scaling the statistics, important mistakes Malaysian women are making and how cervical cancer can be stopped. Read it all here!
1. Oh, what! Cervical cancer? Nah… It will never happen to me!
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In case you were not aware, cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease. It is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual transmission. All women regardless of their age, develop their risk right after they begin sexual intercourse. So unless you are not sexually active, taking care “down there” is vital.
2. I’m too shy. I’ll skip my medical check-up.
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If you are feeling a little too shy, afraid or inferior about seeing your doctor, remember – it could cause you your life. So if you are a sexually active person, going for early screening and regular check-ups, could prevent you from being a statistic. So overcome your shyness and take action now!
3. Not Practicing Safe Sex!
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Yes! You heard that right. Women who do not practice safe sex are most vulnerable. From over 100 types of the HPV viruses, 15 of those viruses are considered high risk. And if you are persistently infected with these higher risk HPV types, your chances of developing cervical cancer is likely. So to avoid the disease from developing, remember practicing safe sex is wise to reducing your risk and protecting you from unwanted worries.
4. Disregarding early cancer symptoms
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In the early stages when the cancer is only developing, it is rare for any signs and symptoms to surface. Usually, symptoms of cervical cancer tend to appear after it has reached to a later or advanced stage. Therefore being extra protective “down there” is the wisest thing to do as you will have a higher chance of successful treatment if it is detected earlier on.
5. Ahh… I’m too lazy
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A majority of women refuse to go for screening as they find taking time off from work to be a challenge. However, medical experts have advised, screening for cervical cancer should be done once in every 3 years the most. So, for instance, if a girl starts having sex by the age of 21, she is well recommended to go for her first cervical cancer screening when she is 24 years old and should continue doing so once in every 3-5 years if she is sexually active. It is predicted that cervical cancer can be prevented if women generally went for cervical cancer screening early on.
6. Is ignorance of cancer a good thing?
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Although ample education and awareness campaign have been done to promote cervical cancer screening, still many Malaysian women are ignorant, increasing their vulnerability to developing the disease. Why is that? Reason is many are doubtful if they would ever get the disease, so they are not motivated to take preventive measures. Others are at the perception that unless there is a need to go for screening it is fine to ignore it. While there are those who are influenced by certain factors like health facility location, affecting their interest to seek early protection.
7. Fear of cancer
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Cancer. Who does not jump at the sound of it? For this reason, many women are becoming too afraid as they feel going for cervical cancer screening is like putting a death warrant to their throats in fear that they might be tested positive. Now, this is a huge risk they are setting themselves into.
8. Don’t bother. I’m too healthy to get cancer.
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This is one scary thought. If you are one of those women who think like this – be warned! Cancer does not discriminate. No matter how healthy you look, you could be fit as a fiddle, if you are sexually active, you could fall prey to cervical cancer if protective measures are not taken seriously. So do not take cervical cancer lightly, you may be her next victim!
9. Financial constraints and cancer treatments
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With rising health costs and medical treatment bills, it is no wonder that many women are opting out from going for cervical cancer screening, as they feel this could lead to an additional financial burden. This is a huge mistake many are making. The fact is, with early screening, a majority of women will be able to escape unwanted financial worries if cancer advances. So get regular medical check-ups to avoid giving yourself a financial shock.
10. Early Screening Could Save Your Life
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The best way to stop cervical cancer from spreading is to go for early screening and regular medical check-ups. Younger girls between the ages of 14-19 are advised to get the HPV vaccines that is capable of protecting them against this type of viruses. While women are allowed to get the vaccination, still the level of protection is small if they have already been exposed to HPV. Therefore, women who have not taken the vaccines and are sexually active should go for early screening to detect any abnormal cancer cells and pre-cancerous lesions, starting from age 30. The recommended screening tests include the conventional (Pap smear) test and liquid-based cytology (LBC), visual inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) and HPV testing for high-risk HPV types.
With the growing incidences of cervical cancer in Malaysia, it is important that women do not neglect their health and wellbeing. Remember, if cancer is detected early, it could give you a higher chance of survival.