What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tissue of the cervix. Usually, it is a slow-progressing cancer that may not have obvious or immediate symptoms, but can be detected by a pap smear. A pap smear is a procedure in which a sample of cervical cells are examined under a microscope and checked for irregularities.
What causes cervical cancer?
As with any other form of cancer, there are many health and lifestyle factors that contribute to the growth of malignant cells in the cervix. However, the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common of all sexually transmitted infections, is the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. HPV is spread through genital skin contact during sex, when bodily fluids mix. There are many different types of HPV: some may lead to cancer and genital warts, while others cause no problems at all and can go undetected for many years.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of the disease, but in some cases, there may be no noticeable symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.
Cervical cancer is preceded by a precancerous condition called dysplasia, which is 100% treatable and can be detected by a pap smear. This is why it’s so crucial for all women to have regular pap smears as soon as they become sexually active, ideally once a year, throughout their lives.
Cervical cancer prevention and your Resolution Health benefits
There are currently 2 ways to prevent cervical cancer:
• Annual preventative Pap Smears that identify cell changes when they start
• The cervical cancer vaccine
At Resolution Health Medical Scheme we strongly believe that prevention is better than cure and that is why all our options, except the Hospital option, offer annual Pap Smears as part of our preventative care programme.
In addition, our Millennium, Millennium Select and Supreme options also provide for the cervical cancer vaccine, which should be administered within a certain age bracket (see your option benefit guide for more information).