Cervical Cancer Part 1 of 3
What Is Cervical Cancer? What Causes Cervical Cancer? Are You High Risk?
With our current knowledge of cervical cancer and with proper screening and attention to health and prevention, we should enjoy an era in which no woman ever receives this diagnosis. If each woman takes care of her cervical health, health is exactly what she should have.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
The cervix is the lower narrow part of the uterus, or the neck of the uterus where it connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer can occur inside the cervical canal, the passageway for menstrual flow and childbirth or on the surface of the cervix itself
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
According to the National Cancer Institute when the cervical cells become inflamed and begin to change their characteristics, this is called cervical dysplasia and may be a precursor to cervical cancer. Inflammation and dysplasia may be caused by infections. Cervical Cancer is linked to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a common virus and a sexually transmitted disease. HPV viruses can cause genital warts external and also lesions inside the vagina and the cervix. . Some forms of the HPV virus are low risk and some are high risk for cancer. A thorough gynecologic pelvic exam includes a PAP Test in which cells of from the cervix are sampled and examined for changes and for the presence and type of HPV virus.
All menstruating and sexually active women and girls should be screened regularly for sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV.
Are You At High Risk?
Persistent or frequent infections and inflammation in the vagina and cervix may make you more vulnerable to HPV infection and to cervical cancer.
If you were born between 1940 and 1971 you may be at high risk for cervical cancer if your mother was given a hormone called DES during her pregnancy in order to prevent miscarriage. “DES Daughters” have a high rate of cervical cancer and should be screened for cervical cancer regularly.
Smokers, women who have used birth control pills for more than 5 years , women with multiple partners, multiple births and who do not practice safe sex are at highest risk for cervical cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you take medications that suppress your immune system (lowering your capacity to fight infection) or if you have HIV.
A normal community of healthy friendly bacteria are part of the immune system in your genital organs. If you have taken or are currently taking certain medications such as antibiotics, steroid drugs such as prednisone, immune suppressive drugs for autoimmune diseases or chemotherapy drugs and also radiation therapy to the lower abdomen and pelvis, the normal healthy bacterial environment of your vagina may be disrupted. This sets the stage for inflammation and infection. The normal ecology of your vagina must be restored in order to have healthy function and healthy cells.
Remember that poor diet, especially a lack of fermented foods, protein and fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet as well as lack of sleep and high levels of stress also impair your immunity and make you vulnerable to infection.
Read Part 3 to learn about 16 Herbs and Spices that Enhance and Promote Cervical Health over Cervical Cancer.
Photo credit Nasturtims Giving Homage to Georgia O’Keefe