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Public Cervix Announcement
Most women neglect this small but very important part of their reproductive organ. Unlike its sister body parts such as the labia, clitoris and vaginal canal, the cervix doesn't get a lot of love—literally and figuratively speaking. To help you understand just what your cervix means to you, we asked Dr. Joy Garcia, an OB-Oncologist to share what women need to understood about this organ.
1. What is the vital role of the cervix in the female reproductive system?
The cervix is the neck of the womb. It can be found at the inner end of the vaginal canal. It allows the flow of menstrual blood out into the vaginal opening. It also directs the entry of sperm cells during intercourse. It opens up during labor and is one of the passageways during childbirth.
2. What are the possible diseases in the cervix?
The cervix can have infections caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria. Some are contracted through sexual contact. Some are not. The most important disease to know is cervical cancer. It is the number 2 cancer of women in the Philippines and in the world. It is caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). It is transmitted through intercourse.
3. How can these cervical diseases be prevented?
Cervical cancer can be prevented by sexual abstinence. However, this is not a practical advice to many women. The next best things to do are to receive the HPV vaccine, to do regular Pap smears with or without HPV DNA test and to stay monogamous. It is not enough to do just one. Keeping a healthy lifestyle also helps one’s immune system to fight against this virus. Getting infected with it could be recurrent so our health should always be on guard and able to win against it. Smoking and oral contraceptives are also known to help HPV cause cervical cancer. Condom use can decrease the transmission of the virus remarkably although not totally.
Yeast infection can be prevented by observing proper perineal hygiene and keeping one’s blood sugar level normal.
4. What are other simple treatments or procedures that can be done?
Yeast, bacterial and other viral infections (aside from HPV) can be treated by medications taken by mouth or inserted into the vagina.
The pre-cancerous diseases of the cervix are generally easily treated through cryotherapy(freezing of the cervix) or conization (taking out a big part of the cervix). Both can be done on an out-patient basis. These pre-cancerous diseases can only be caught through regular pap smears with or without HPV DNA tests and confirmed by colposcopy. Yes, these procedures are available here in CSMC. The treatment of cervical cancer, on the other hand, is either by surgery and/or combination of radiation and chemotherapy.
5. How much do the treatments/procedures cost?
The cost of pre-cancerous treatments depends on the procedure. For Cryotherapy, it's about P8,700; Conization is about P30-40K; surgery for Cervical Cancer is around P200K; and Radiation + Chemotherapy for cervical cancer ranges between P150-200K which would go on for 6 weeks. A Pap smear is about P475 and Anti-Cervical cancer vaccines ranges between P2,600 – P7,500 per shot depending on the brand.