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Cervical Cancer

September 22, 2022

Cervical Cancer - featured image

Post women’s month: It is important that, we continue to put women first and to provide education with regards to Cervical Cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a programme aimed at eliminating cervical cancer. This is possible through mass population screening and early detection.

It is important that we recognize that Cervical Cancer is the second most common type of cancer in South Africa.

Dr Thabo Liphapang is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist based at Busamed Harrismith Private Hospital. He shares his answers to frequently asked questions on the topic if Cervical Cancer.

Q. What is Cervical Cancer?

A. Cervical Cancer is a malignant tumor which grows in the womb (lower part of the cervix). It is caused mainly by a long-lasting viral infection [Human Papillomavirus (HPV)].

Q. What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

A. Most cases are asymptomatic; however the following are the most common symptoms:

  • Contact bleeding (bleeding after sexual intercourse; between periods or even after menopause
  • Experience pelvic pain and pains during intercourse
  • Foul smelling, watery vaginal discharge, it can also have blood staining.

Immediately when you suspect or recognize the signs consult your doctor.
It is also important that women do regular Pap smears, as this will assist with the detection of any HPV and pre-cancerous cells. The pap smear can be done yearly or even 3-5 years depending on the risk category.

The pap smear process is uncomfortable, however painless, and necessary for early detection and treatment of cancer.

Treatments of Cervical Cancer?

The main types of the treatment include surgical procedures, radiation therapy and chemo-radiation.

During early stages of the cancer, surgical procedures (such as Radical Hysterectomy trachelectomy, Cryosurgery, and radiation therapy in isolation and combined with chemotherapy therapy will be used.

Q. What are Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer?

A. The risk factors include:

  • Multiple sexual partners – increases the risks of acquiring HPV
  • Other sexually transmitted infections e.g., HIV

Q. What are the risk factor reduction methods?

A. Prevention or risk reduction:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Practice safe sex
  • Have regular pap smear check-ups
  • HPV vaccine (only for people before sexual debut)
Dr Thabo Liphapang

Dr Thabo Liphapang

Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

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