It’s cervical cancer awareness month and as well as raising awareness, it is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of regular screening tests and follow up care to prevent cervical cancer. With branches that are all equipped with expertly-trainedgynecologists, Aster Clinics is encouraging women to book in for their PAP smear and HPV vaccine at their nearest community branch.
In the UAE, at least 108 women are newly diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, however it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer with routine screening and regular checks. Cancer of the cervix has no symptoms in its early stages, which is why it’s so important to have regular cervical screening checks even if you aren’t experiencing any of the symptoms.
Screening can detect precursors and early-stage disease. Screening recommendations for women who are at average risk for cervical cancer apply to women who are asymptomatic with intact immune system and had adequate screening starting at age 21 years with results that were all normal. However, women at higher risk due to a history of prior abnormal screening results or immunosuppression may need more frequent testing, based on their prior results and treatment.
The Department of Health recommends all women between the ages of 16 and 26 to get vaccinated against HPV and all women who are married to take a pap test every three to five years. HPV is a virus that is passed from one person to another, it is very common and usually without any symptoms or signs. As there is a 10-20 percent chance for those women with long lasting HPV infection to develop Cervical cancer, it is important to get tested if sexually active.
The HPV vaccine targets the types of HPV that results in most cervical cancer. Gardasil, Gardasil-9, and Cervarix, three different vaccine brands are globally available to prevent infection with types of HPV known to cause cervical cancer. These vaccines are safe, and they significantly reduce the number of women who develop cervical pre-cancer that can lead to cancer. Three doses of vaccine are given as the first dose which is followed by a dose 2 months later. The last dose is given 6 months after the first.
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