[ON THE REAL] Cervical Cancer and Human papillomavirus


October was a cancer awareness month, On The Real show with Agenda Feminist media they decided to talk about cervical cancer and Human Papillomavirus. Sibusisiwe Maphumulo and Andile Jiyane took the liberty of doing research on the two and the information they had was taken from WebMD and the World Health organisation (WHO)

Cancer affects people of all ages and race like we had said before, the devastation it leaves in its wake is unbearable. There are different types of cancers that affect people due to lifestyle choices and genes passed on.

Maphumulo said, “cervical cancer is very common, affecting woman from their first sexual encounter as adolescents throughout their life cycle, and it’s partially due to certain Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and the Human Papillomavirus.”

According to WebMD Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 530 000 new cases in 2012 representing 7.5% of all female cancer deaths. Of the estimated more than 270 000 deaths from cervical cancer every year, more than 85% of these occur in less developed regions.

Jiyane said Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives and some may be repeatedly infected.

“Most of the teens that have sex before time are usually not educated about sex and the dangers that come with it. They are often scared to speak to their parent and even more scared of going to the clinic for sexual guidance,” Jiyane said.

According to Maphumulo, HPV is sexually transmitted, and a person is more likely to become victim to it shortly after becoming sexually active. It is not only transmitted by penetrative sex kodwa even skin on skin genital contact can result in transmission.

Andile: bese kuthi yona Cervical cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix grow abnormally and invade other tissues and organs of the body. It can also spread to other parts of the body including the lungs and liver.

Cervical cancer grows slowly and if it happens to be detected early it can be treated. Cervical cancer begins with abnormal changes in the cervical tissue.

The risk of developing these abnormal changes is associated with infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). According to WHO, in addition, early sexual contact, multiple sexual partners, and taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills) to increase the risk of cervical cancer because they lead to greater exposure to HPV.

“We know abstaining from sex can be hard but at least go for regular check-ups and make sure you have the knowledge required before going on birth control,” Maphumulo said.

Symptoms of cervical cancer tend to appear only after the cancer has reached an advanced stage and may include:

• irregular, intermenstrual (between periods) or abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse;
• back, leg or pelvic pain;
• fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite;
• vaginal discomfort or odorous discharge; and
• a single swollen leg.
• More severe symptoms may arise at advanced stages.
Cervical cancer screening is testing for pre-cancer and cancer among women who have no symptoms and may feel perfectly healthy. When screening detects pre-cancerous lesions, these can easily be treated, and cancer avoided. Screening can also detect cancer at an early stage and treatment has a high potential for cure.

There are 3 different types of screening tests currently available:

• conventional (Pap) test and liquid-based cytology (LBC)
• visual inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA)
• HPV testing for high-risk HPV types.
WHO recommends a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer prevention and control. The recommended set of actions includes interventions across the life course. It should be multidisciplinary, including components from community education, social mobilization, vaccination, screening, treatment and palliative care.
This means teaching adolescents, especially girls about the dangers of premature sex and informing them on what to do if they engage in sex early. Primary prevention needs to begin with HPV vaccination of girls aged 9-13 years, before they become sexually active.
Other recommended preventive interventions for adolescent boys and girls are:
• education about safe sexual practices, including delayed start of sexual activity;
• promotion and provision of condoms for those already engaged in sexual activity;
• warnings about tobacco use, which often starts during adolescence, and which is an important risk factor for cervical and other cancers;
• male circumcision.

In closing, Maphumulo talked about the importance of practicing safe sex with one sexual partner all the time.
“Stick to one sexual partner and protect yourselves,” she said.

Listen to the clip below for more information:

Catch On The Real with Agenda Feminist Media on the #AM2PM show every Wednesdays|12pm-1pm




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