All Posts Tagged: cervical cancer

Holding hands - cancer

Cancer – the basics

Cancer is abnormal cell growth.

The cancer cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. Most areas of the body can be affected.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in Victoria.

What’s the difference between benign and malignant cancer?

You often hear people talking about cancer that is benign or malignant.

Benign cells grow abnormally but do not spread. These cells are not dangerous.

If the cells spread or are capable of spreading to other parts of the body, they are called malignant cancer. These are the dangerous ones.

What are the most common cancers?

There are hundreds of different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment. But the top 10 cancers in Australia are:

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms usually don’t mean you have cancer. But it’s important you see your Pascoe Vale doctor so they can assess and investigate.

Potential signs and symptoms of cancer include:

  • A lump in the neck, armpit or anywhere else in the body
  • Lumpiness or a thickened area in your breasts, any changes in the shape or colour of your breasts, unusual nipple discharge, a nipple that turns inwards (if it hasn’t always been that way) or any unusual pain
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Coughs or hoarseness that won’t go away or coughing up blood
  • Changes in toilet habits that last more than two weeks, blood in a bowel motion or urine
  • New moles or skin spots, or ones that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
  • A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • Pain in your abdomen (tummy) or your anus
  • Persistent bloating.

What causes cancer?

Often we don’t know why cancer happens. But there are some things that significantly increase your risk, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, a poor diet, not getting enough exercise and too much radiation from the sun.

Sometimes cancer runs in families. You can inherit genes that make you more likely to get it.

In other cases, cancer is associated with an infection. For example, cervical cancer is associated with some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Being exposed to some chemicals and dust can also increase your risk.

How can you prevent cancer?

There are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk. For example, you can improve your diet, do more physical activity, and avoid staying in the sun all day.

Our team of healthcare practitioners can assist you with making these changes.

Government-sponsored programs (e.g. screening tests for bowel, cervical and breast cancer) and other screening tests, as recommended by your doctor, are also available.

Prevention is better than cure!

When should I see my doctor?

There is a much greater chance of successfully treating cancer if it’s detected early. If you notice any changes, contact us immediately.

 

Source: Cancer Australia, BetterHealth, Healthdirect

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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How much do you know about cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix.

These abnormal cells can develop into tumours and in worst-case scenarios – spread throughout the body. The cervix is part of the female reproductive system and is the narrow lower portion (or ‘neck’) of the uterus.

How do you get cervical cancer?

The risk factors associated with cervical cancer are:

  • Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Smoking
  • Weak immune system
  • Family history
  • Exposure to Diethylstilboestrol or DES (an oestrogen medication prescribed to pregnant women from the 1940s to the early 1970s)
  • Lack of regular cervical screening tests.

What is the Human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by an infection with the HPV.

HPV is an extremely common group of viruses that can affect both males and females. In most people, HPV is harmless and has no symptoms, but in some people the virus may persist and lead to diseases of the genital area, including genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva and anus.

How can HPV cause cervical cancer?

After entering the body, HPV will behave in one of two ways: either remaining dormant (inside the body’s cells), or becoming active.

In most cases, the body’s immune system will clear the virus from the body naturally within 14 months. If the immune system does not clear a HPV infection, it can cause normal cells in the lining of the cervix to turn abnormal. In rare cases this can develop into cervical cancer.

Are there any symptoms of cervical cancer?

If early cell changes develop into cervical cancer, the most common symptoms that might be present are:

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Lower back pain
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Leg pain or swelling.

These symptoms can also be caused by other more common conditions so please don’t panic if you do experience them.

However, see your Pascoe Vale GP if you’re worried or if the symptoms are ongoing. If necessary, your GP will refer you for further tests.

In many cases cervical cancer does not usually carry any external symptoms until it is in advanced stages. That’s why the Cervical Screening Test (see below) is so important.

How can you prevent cervical cancer?

There are two ways to prevent cervical cancer: vaccination and cervical screening.

The HPV vaccine protects against nine of the main HPV types that cause 90% of cervical cancer.

In December 2017, the 5-yearly Cervical Screening Test (CST) replaced the 2-yearly Pap test in Australia.

For most women aged 25 to 74, your first CST is due two years after your last Pap test. After that, you will only need to have the test every five years if your result is normal.

Make a booking today

We’re here for you 7 days a week. If you need to see us, please make a booking today.

 

Source: Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, Australian Government Cancer Australia, National Cervical Screening Program and Understanding HPV

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Get your cervical screening test at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale.

Cervical screening test – starting 1 December

There are some important changes regarding the Pap test.

The two-yearly Pap test for women aged 18 to 69 will change to a five-yearly cervical screening test (CST) for women aged 25 to 74.

The latest medical and scientific evidence shows that having a cervical screening test every five years is just as safe, and is more effective than having a Pap test every two years.

Changes to age brackets

The age at which screening starts will increase from 18 to 25. If you are aged between 25 and 74 and have ever been sexually active, you should have a cervical screening test every five years until you’re 74.

Getting tested

You will be due for your first cervical screening test two years after your last Pap test. We’ll send you a reminder letter so you don’t forget to get tested.

Your doctor will receive your results about two weeks after your test.

If you’ve been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (Gardasil vaccine) it is still recommended to have ongoing cervical screening tests as this vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

Any symptoms? See a doctor

Women of any age who have symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge and pain should see their doctor immediately.

If you have any questions about cervical cancer or the new cervical screening test, please make an appointment with us.

See the frequently asked questions about the cervical screening test.

 

Source: Department of Health – National Cervical Screening Program

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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