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Cervical cancer screening involves routine Pap smears. It is a simple test in which cells from the cervix and vagina are examined for any cellular changes that could lead to cancer. These abnormalities are usually pre- cancerous and once treated, cancer can be prevented. It is recommended for all women who have ever had sexual intercourse.
Colposcopy, available on- site in our centre, involves the use of a special magnifying device to look at the cervix. This allows us to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. It is a relatively painless procedure involving the application of a mild vinegar-like solution (acetic acid). If any abnormal areas are found, biopsies may be taken for further evaluation.
Treatment of Pre- Cancerous Conditions
Based on the results, further treatment may be recommended. Methods of treating pre- cancerous changes of the cervix include laser vapourization, LEEP and cone biopsy. LEEP or cone biopsy are minor surgical procedures that involve removal of a cylindrical or cone-shaped piece of cervix in which abnormal cells are located by using a heated electrical loop wire or with a laser, diathermy or knife respectively.
Cervical cancer may be caused by certain types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is spread through sexual contact targeting the genitals. It is now possible to have vaccinations against certain HPV strains which are high risk for inducing cancerous changes. These HPV vaccines may help prevent cervical cancer and is suitable for women and girls from the age of 9 years. HPV vaccine packages are available at our Centre.