All You Need To Know About Cervical Cancer

As per the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women.[1] With the incidence of the disease increasing worldwide, it has become crucial to understand the various aspects of the diseases and what one can do to beat the condition.

Cancer is a disease that begins when cells in any part of the body begin to grow uncontrollably. Cervical cancer is one that begins in the lining of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus which opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer is one of the preventive cancers if detected early. The condition develops very slowly which begins as a condition called dysplasia; the abnormal development/growth of a tissue.

The condition is caused due to infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are various kinds of HPV’s, however cervical cancer is caused due to infection caused specifically by types 16 and 18. Not all types of HPV viruses cause cervical cancer, some cause conditions like genital warts. Unlike many other cancers for which there is no designated cause, we know the exact causative factor of cervical cancer. Most adult women would have been affected by the HPV virus at some point in their life. In most cases, the infection goes away on its own without any treatment. However, in some cases the infection stays for prolonged periods, leading to cervical cancer. In addition to the HPV, unhealthy lifestyle practices like smoking also puts a woman at the risk of developing cervical cancer.

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Postpartum tips for new mothers

The postpartum period begins after the delivery of the child until the mother’s body returns to the pre-pregnancy state. This period is generally defined as the first 6 weeks after childbirth.  A baby is a whole new adjustment for the entire family and it may take some time to get used to the new family unit. This period may also involve you, as a mother, spending most time bonding with your baby and less time with your partner. However, the weeks after adjusting to motherhood can be challenging, particularly if you are a first-time mother. Although it is important to take care of your baby, it is also extremely important to take care of yourself and your body.

Since you would have gotten into a routine with your baby during the day and night, it may not be an easy start. However, here are a few tips that can help ease the process;

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Do You Know About Peri-Menopause?

Most women are aware of menopause, however, there is also a phase before menopause, called the peri-menopause which is a rather significant but lesser known phase.

This is not a disease and must not be considered one. Peri-menopause and menopause are few of the very few certain changes that every woman experiences, hence giving them a chance to prepare for it.  This transition phase lasts until a woman completely enters into menopause.

So what is peri-menopause? Perimenopause is a transitional stage in a woman’s reproductive age that begins roughly around 4-5 years before menopause. Peri-menopause is a gradual and normal process, the number of years may vary in different women, in some women, the stage may last only a few months and in others, it could continue for more than 5 years.

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The basics of breastfeeding

“A newborn baby has only three demands. They are; warmth in the arms of (his) mother, food from her breasts and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastmilk satisfies all three.”

  • Grantly Dick-Read

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is at least 6 months of age as it is optimal for babies and mothers. Breastmilk is your baby’s first feed and the first means of immunizing your baby against infections and allergies. Breastmilk keeps your baby healthy by supplying them with all the essential nutrients in its required quantities. It has the perfect combination of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats.

The importance of breastfeeding and its benefits for the mother and child are commonly known and often spoken about. However, there are certainly other aspects of breastfeeding that mother’s or expectant mothers need to know about in order to be able to breastfeed their baby efficiently.

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Your questions on Breast Cancer answered

Since what age should women start a breast examination?

Breast cancer is one such cancer that can be cured if detected and treated during initial stages. It is extremely important for women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally so that they are able to differentiate in case of any changes. Breast cancer can happen to women across all age groups, although a majority of the cases of breast cancer occur in women over 40 years of age. However irrespective of the age, women should be aware of their body and its changes. Diagnosing breast cancer in women under 40 years of age is difficult because the breast tissue during that age is much denser than in older women. However self-breast examinations must be done once a month and can be done by women in their 20’s as well. During the teens, women tend to feel lumps in the breast which is quite normal as the breasts are developing and the lumps normally disappear on their own gradually. However, if the lump gets bigger in size or causes pain/discomfort it is better to consult a specialist in order to understand the cause.

A self-breast examination should be done by women whose breasts are fully developed (post-adolescence). Beginning the practice early will help women create a habit out of it and they will become much more familiar with their breasts and can address any changes that the breast undergoes. The self-examination should be done after the days of mensuration as during those days the breasts tend to be swollen. At a younger age, regular examination at frequent intervals is recommended in order to rule out any health condition. Mammograms are not recommended for women below 40 years of age because of the dense breast tissue women have at a younger age, hence mammograms may not be extremely efficient. Women over 40 years of age should screen themselves annually. In case of women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer; i.e. women who have a family history of breast cancer, women who started menstruating before 12 years of age, women with poor lifestyle habits, women diagnosed with benign breast conditions previously etc. it is recommended to consult a specialist who would be able to advise on the right time to begin mammogram screening.

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