There is a lot of misinformation about cervical cancer and Pap tests. That’s why we’re clearing up some myths and giving you the real facts instead.
Myth: Onlyaged women are affected by cervical cancer.
Fact: All ages of women can be affected by cervical cancer but the risk is higher in the older women.
Myth: Women with a family background of cervical cancer are at risk.
Fact: Family history is not a contributory factor.
Myth: Pap smears are believed to detect all cervical cancers.
Fact: Pap smears are done to screen for abnormalities of a cervix, but it does not diagnose cervical cancer. It is basically a screening test. Pap smear screening can also produce a false-negative result, meaning that cervical cancers can be missed.
Myth: Cervical cancer cannot be prevented.
Fact: Cervical cancer can definitely be prevented through regular Pap smear of cervix screening, vaccination for HPV, safe sexual practices, and the effective treatment of pre cancer of the cervix.
Myth: Onlythose women who are sexually active can have cervical cancer.
Fact: Cervical cancer can also occur in women who are not sexually active, because HPV infections can also be transmitted through non-sexual routes. Also, there is an uncommon form of cervical cancer, not related to sexual contact, that can occur in virgin women.
Myth: HPV vaccination is intended only for young girls.
Fact: HPV vaccination is recommended for both boys and girls. In the female, it protects against the virus’s transmission and reduces the risk of cervical cancer. It is effective and recommended in females in the age group 9 years to 45 years of age.
Myth: It is believed that smoking does not increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Fact: Smoking may increase the risk of cervical cancer, but it is a minor factor.
Myth: Cervical cancer symptoms are always noticeable.
Fact: In the early stages, cervical cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms. Regular screenings are crucial for early detection and treatment. It is true that the majority of women with cervical cancer do not have any complaints.
Myth: OnlyWomen having HPV get the cervical cancer.
Fact: In 99.7%, HPV is the main cause of the development of cervical cancer. A very small percentage of women who have no HPV infection can also get cervical cancer. These women have other forms of chronic infections of the cervix.
Myth: Cervical cancer is always leading toward death.
Fact: Without any treatment, death is the logical conclusion.
Myth: Cervical cancer is very rare.
Fact: Cervical cancer is the 4th most common female cancer in the world, and 3rd most common in Malaysia, according to 2020 statistics. The incidence of cervical cancer in Malaysian women is about 11.0 per 100000.
Myth: Women who have had a hysterectomy are not at risk for cervical cancer.
Fact: If the woman had a total hysterectomy done, then there is no further risk of cervical cancer. However, if she had a sub total hysterectomy done, meaning the cervix is left behind, then she has a risk of cervical cancer.
MBBS ( Mal ), FRCOG ( UK ), FICS ( USA ), M/Med. O&G ( S’pore ), FAMM ( Mal ), FRCPI ( Ire ), FSAAARMM ( Mal ), Certificate in Estrogen Deficiency & Menopause ( USA ) Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Menopause Consultant, CIN Consultant & Colposcopist KMI Taman Desa Medical Centre