Cervical cancer is the seventh most common cancer in Singapore with a peak incidence among women in their 30s and 40s. Recent evidence suggests that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a cause for many cases.
However, there are more than 80 known types of HPV, but only persistent infection with the high risk types, in particular types 16 and 18, puts a woman at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
Fortunately, the natural history of cervical cancer is well established and most develop from a pre-cancer phase which can take many years to grow. The role of the Pap smear is to pick up the disease at the pre-cancer phase, whereby treatment may effectively cure the woman.
YOU ARE AT RISK OF CERVICAL CANCER IF …
- You have had multiple sexual partners. This increases your risk of HPV
- You started having sex before age 20. This makes you more susceptible to HPV-caused pre-cancerous changes
- You have a history of other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or HIV/AIDS
- You have a weakened immune system from other medical conditions, coupled with an HPV infection
- You smoke and are overweight, or have a family history of cervical cancer
EARLY DETECTION CAN SAVE YOU
If you are aged 25 to 69 and sexually active, get a Pap smear at one- to three-yearly intervals. This involves scraping cells from the cervix’ surface during a pelvic examination.
If the result is abnormal, further screenings like a colposcopy – microscopic examination of the cervix ñ are done. If the results are unclear, a cone biopsy to remove any abnormal cells for a pathological examination may determine the exact type of cancer.
GO FOR YOUR PAP SMEAR TODAY:
Singapore General Hospital: 6321-4377
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital: 6394-2160
SingHealth Polyclinics: 6236-4800
Special thanks to the Department of Gynaecological Oncology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is the only integrated women’s and children’s hospital in Singapore, providing specialised care for women, babies and children. For more information, go to www.kkh.com.sg or call Tel: 6225 5554
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