Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer affecting the cervix. It is considered a preventable disease and is curable when detected early. However, it remains as the second most common type of cancer among Filipino women ages 15 to 44 years old.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

The main cause for cervical cancer is a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted through sexual contact. However, not everyone who gets infected with this virus will develop cancer. Aside from HPV infection, there are other factors which increase the risk for developing cervical cancer, which include: • Having multiple sexual partners • Early age at which you first had sex (younger than 18 years old) • Family history of cervical cancer • Other sexually transmitted infections • Problems with the immune system • Cigarette smoking

Patients don’t usually have any symptoms during the earlier stages of the disease. By the time the individual has symptoms, the cancer may have already spread. These symptoms include: • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina: irregular bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, or bleeding/spotting after sex • Unpleasant vaginal discharge: whitish or blood-stained • Pain during sexual intercourse Other symptoms which may point to a more advanced cancer include: • Pelvic pain • Difficulty urinating • Swelling of the legs

Cervical cancer, when detected early, is curable. Screening for cervical cancer include having a Pap smear done every three (3) years and/or an HPV test every five (5) years. Screening should start at 30 years of age, but may begin earlier especially for high risk individuals. Treatment for cervical cancer depends on several factors, such as how advanced the cancer is, other health problems the patient has, and their preferences. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three may be used. What’s most important is to have it treated as early as possible.

The following measures can help reduce the risk of having cervical cancer: • Having only one sexual partner • A delay on the first sexual intercourse • Consistent and correct use of barrier contraceptives, like condoms during sexual intercourse • Vaccination of anti-cervical cancer vaccine (HPV vaccine) • A healthy lifestyle (especially stopping cigarette smoking)
Last Updated: February 21, 2024