As we enter our twenties, more and more women are concerned about their own health. Gynecological diseases, including cervical cancer, are also a concern.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in their late 30s and 40s, and about 2,800 people in Japan die of cervical cancer every year. In general, women over the age of 20 are recommended to undergo regular checkups, and it is included in the five cancer screenings along with stomach cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer.
In this article, we will introduce basic information about cervical cancer and details about the screening and testing.
Please refer to it and make use of it for your health management.
What kind of disease is cervical cancer?
Uterine cancer is cancer that develops in the epithelial cells that cover the inside of the uterus. There are two types of uterine cancer: cervical cancer is cancer that develops around the entrance to the uterus (cervix), and uterine cancer is cancer that develops in the mucous membrane at the back of the uterus. In Japan, cervical cancer is more common, and regular checkups are recommended.
Cervical cancer is thought to be caused by persistent infection with HPV (human papillomavirus). The virus is transmitted through sex, and most women will be infected at least once in their lifetime. Normally, the immune system eliminates the infection, but in some cases, the virus is not eliminated and the infection continues for a long time, resulting in cancer.
Advantages and Notes of Cervical Cancer Screening
The purpose of cancer screening is to detect and treat cancer in its early stages and reduce deaths from cancer. It is recommended that women over the age of 20 undergo cervical cancer screening every other year.
Advantages of cervical cancer screening
– Early detection
In cervical cancer, cells that have the potential to become cancer grow in the cervical tissue before the cancer is detected. This is called dysplasia, and by undergoing regular medical checkups, it is possible to detect it at the stage of dysplasia before it progresses to cancer, leading to early treatment.
If there are no abnormalities in the checkup, you can rest assured.
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer after experiencing subjective symptoms, cancer may already be in an advanced stage and treatment may be difficult. If you have regular checkups and are found to have no abnormalities, you can go about your daily life with peace of mind without unnecessary worry.
Notes on cervical cancer screening
– Cancer is not always found.
The accuracy of any test is not 100%. If the cancer is in a hard-to-find place or the shape is difficult to recognize, it may be missed, so it is important to continue having regular checkups.
– There is a possibility of overdiagnosis.
Some cancers are not life-threatening and disappear without becoming advanced cancer. However, since there is no way to tell if the cancer is life-threatening or not, early treatment may be considered, and as a result, the same tests and treatment as for normal cancer may be performed.
How to get screened for cervical cancer
There are two ways to get screened for cervical cancer: cancer screening by the local government and workplace screening.
Municipal cancer screening
You can apply for the cancer screening conducted by the municipality where you live. You may receive the information by mail, but please check the website once. You can apply by phone, mail, or on the Internet, and then go to a medical institution for a checkup. There are subsidies available for the cost of screening, so inquire with your local government.
Cancer screening at work
In some cases, cancer screening is conducted in conjunction with the annual physical examination at work. If cancer screening is not conducted at your workplace, you should undergo cancer screening at your local government office.
Cervical Cancer Screening Tests
The cervical cancer screening includes an interview to check the menstrual cycle, a visual examination to examine the cervix with a vaginal speculum, and a cytological examination to collect cells from the cervix. If any abnormality is found, the patient will proceed to a detailed examination.
In the detailed examination, the cervix will be examined in more detail with a magnifying glass, and cells will be collected from the suspected abnormal areas. If there are any abnormalities found in the detailed examination, the doctor will decide on further examination and treatment after assessing the condition of cancer.
In general, many people think that cancer is a disease that does not occur in the younger generation, but there are some cancers, such as cervical cancer, that occur more frequently in the younger generation.
In order to maintain good health in the future, it is advisable to have regular cervical cancer screenings after the age of 20. If no abnormality is found after a regular checkup, you can live your life with peace of mind. Get the right knowledge about cervical cancer and screening so that you can take proper care of your health.