A physician can test for the abnormal cell growth that causes cervical cancer. That test is possible because as cervical cells grow in an uncontrolled manner, they take-on a distinctive appearance, one visible to someone who is examining cells in a microscope. In order to conduct the simple procedure that can uncover evidence of cancerous cervical cells, a gynecologist or other similar specialist must perform a pelvic examination.
A pelvic examination normally includes the retrieval of cervical cells, cells that can be used to make a Pap smear. Use of the Pap smear has led to a 70% decrease in the death rate from cervical cancer. That lower death rate has occurred because women have been willing to get into the uncomfortable position that allows for performance of a pelvic examination.
What sort of posture have women assumed, in order to help physicians uncover early signs of cervical cancer? They have agreed to lie on their backs with their heels in the stirrups at the end of an examining table. In that position, a woman must spread her legs, thus exposing her vagina.
In order to perform a Pap smear, the physician must use a speculum. The speculum spreads the walls of the vagina, allowing the physician to see the inside walls. The physician can then scrape cells from the cervix. A microscopic examination of those cells reveals whether or not the female patient has cervical cancer.
Women are encouraged to get a Pap smear once a year. Doctors are then able to detect cervical cancer before a female patient complains about a condition that is known to be one of the cervical cancer symptoms. The most telling cervical cancer symptoms are irregular bleeding and an unusual vaginal discharge.
If detected at an early stage, cervical cancer cells can be destroyed by either laser surgery or freezing. Those procedures can be performed in a doctor’s office. Women who hope to avoid the need for such procedures make a point of learning the risk factors for cervical cancer.
Those risk factors include multiple sex partners, early age of intercourse, genital Herpes, infection of the reproductive tract with human papilloma virus (HPV) and exposure to an excessive amount of cigarette smoke. A control for one of those risk factors, infection with HPV, now comes in the form of a vaccine. Ceravrix, a vaccine developed by Merck, can protect a woman against infection by type 16 or 18 HPV. Those are the two types of HPV that research has pointed to as causative agents for the majority of cervical cancers.
Biomedical researchers conducted a careful examination of the facts about cervical cancer. Then they used those facts to develop the vaccine called Ceravix. . Now physicians must convince young girls to take advantage of the new cervical cancer vaccine.