There is no absolutely foolproof way of ensuring that some women will not develop cervical cancer. However, that being said, there are a number of things that you can do in order to minimise the risk. We here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall, (a private GP clinic that has set-up walk-in health screening services that anyone who lives and/or works in London can avail themselves of), have summarised the ways of minimising the risks within this brief article for the convenience of visitors to our website.
Practising safe sex
The majority of instances of cervical cancer are connected with specific types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV for short. HPV can be transmitted by indulging in unprotected sex. Ensuring that male partners wear a condom will lessen the chances of an infection being passed on. The earlier a woman begins having regular intercourse; the greater the diversity of sexual partners she has, the larger the risk of developing an HPV infection. This is not fully understood, however, as a small number of women who only ever have one sexual partner can also develop an HPV infection.
An HPV infection does not require penetrative sex to be passed on
Unfortunately, because HPV is so common and is spread via skin to skin contact in the general genital area, protected sex alone is not a complete safeguard.
The reason cervical screening tests are so important
As HPV can be passed on through intimate contact, it is therefore important that women should be sure to make full use of cervical screening opportunities when they arise. It is also why the HPV vaccine is now offered to young girls as a matter of routine.
The HPV vaccine
Vaccination programs are the best way of preventing any disease. As just mentioned, the HPV vaccination is now routinely offered to girls between the ages of 12 and 13. The vaccinations are administered 3 times across a 6-month period. If you missed out on yours for any reason, you can and should have it administered retrospectively. You can talk to your GP about this, or drop in to the walk-in women health clinic services operated by Broadgate GP at London Wall.
Smoking is associated with cervical cancer
In addition to making sure you have protected sex, and that you’ve had the HPV vaccination, the other thing that you can do to minimize the risk of developing cervical cancer is to stop smoking. It’s a medical fact that people who smoke tobacco have more difficulty in dealing with an HPV infection. They cannot get rid of it as easily as non-smokers, and HPV is a leading cause of cervical cancer,
Cervical Screening or Pap tests
The single most important thing that you can do to help prevent cervical cancer it to ensure that you have regular cervical smear or Pap tests as they are sometimes called. Women between the ages of 25 to 49 years-old are routinely invited for cervical screening every 3-years. When women reach the age of 50, and up until 64 years of age, these invitations drop to 1 every 5 years.
You must also bear in mind that the HPV vaccination is not guarantee that you won’t develop cervical cancer, so even if you’ve been immunised, you should still attend your screening sessions when they comes round.
How a cervical smear or Pap test is conducted
The purpose of the Pap test is to detect any abnormal cells that could develop into cancerous cells. The test is carried out using a speculum, a plastic spatula and a small brush. The speculum is designed to widen the opening to the cervix slightly in order to allow the spatula and brush to collect sample cells from inside the cervix. The cells are then sent for analysis under a microscope.
If you experience bleeding outside of your menstruation cycle
The cervical smear or Pap test is not a guarantee that you do not have cervical cancer. This means that if you do experience any bleeding outside of your normal menstruation cycle, you should see you GP or attend a private clinic at the earliest opportunity.
HPV vaccinations and cervical smear tests at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
As well talking to your GP about any concerns you may have regarding cervical cancer, you can, if you live or work in London, avail yourself of the walk-in women health clinic services we offer here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall. We administer both the HPV vaccination and the cervical smear or Pap test.