4What is cervical cancer? The cervix is the lower part or mouth of the uterus (womb) It is one of the most common cancers among South African womenCervical cancer does not develop suddenlyThere is a gradual change from normal cervical cells, through various levels of abnormality, to pre-cancer lesions and eventually to cancerThis whole process can take many yearsCervical cancer is curable if detected and treated in the early stages!
5single most effective cancer screening procedure! What is a Pap smear?A pap smear is a procedure that is done to detect early cell changes in the neck of the womb By having pap smears regularly, treatment can be given at an early stage and so prevent the development of advanced cervical cancerAlthough some women may experience discomfort, a pap smear is usually quick and painlessThe Pap smear is thesingle most effective cancer screening procedure!
6How is a Pap smear done?To allow for a visual inspection of the vagina and cervix and to enable the easy collection of cervical cells from the entrance of the womb, a medical practitioner inserts an instrument called a speculum into the vaginal canalCervical cells are then collected from the surface of the cervix with a small wooden spatula or a small cervical brushThe cells are put onto a glass slide which is then sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscopeIf abnormal cells are detected, you will be referred for treatment to prevent development of cancer of the cervix
7What is CANSA doing to help? We help to make sure that South African women have access to potentially life-saving Pap smearsHow?Our eight mobile clinics travel to remote areas throughout South Africa to reach women who would otherwise not have access to Pap smears
8Let’s talk numbersIn the past year, CANSA screened women for cervical cancerCANSA also facilitated an additional Pap smears in partnership with the Department of Health
9One of CANSA’s mobile clinics creating awareness and doing free screening in the Clanwilliam district
10One of CANSA’s mobile clinics creating awareness and doing free screening in the Northern Free State
11Are you at risk for cervical cancer? Let’s find out!
12You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You've had persistent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infectionsWhy?HPV infection of the cervix is the primary risk factor for cervical cancer and is associated with 70% of all cases
13What is HPV?Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) is a group of more than 100 related virusesHPVs are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact and body fluidsAbout 40 HPV types are sexually transmitted and spread through genital contactSome HPVs, such as those that cause the common warts that grow on hands and feet, do not spread easilyIt has been estimated that HPV infection accounts for approximately 5% of all cancers worldwide
14What is HPV? High risk HPV is estimated to cause... About 15 high-risk HPV types (also called oncogenic or carcinogenic HPVs) have been identified HPV vaccines prevents infection with certain HPV types, such as those associated with the development of cervical cancer, genital warts, and some less common cancers Speak to your medical practitioner for more information about available vaccinesHigh risk HPV is estimated to cause...70% of cervical cancers70% of anal cancers50% of vaginal and vulvar cancers50% of penile cancers20% of head and neck cancers
15You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You have a weakened immune systemWhy?Women with weakened immune systems - when diagnosed with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or when taking immune- suppressing drugs for auto-immune diseases or after organ transplants - are more likely to develop cervical cancer
16You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You've had many sexual partners or your partner had (or has) lots of partnersWhy?Many sexual partners increases your risk of HPV infectionsBeing sexually active from a very young age increases exposure to many partnersWomen in homosexual relationships should also be screened regularly as HPV is passed through body fluids
17You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You haven't had a Pap smear in the past three or more yearsWhy?Women who have never had a Pap smear, or who have not had one for several years have an increased riskDon’t forget... Pap smears to detect cervical cancer is the single most effective cancer screening procedure
18You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You're a smokerWhy?Recent research established that smoking increases cervical cancer risk with 50%
19You have an increased risk for cervical cancer if... You're of child-bearing age (18-40)Why?Most high risk pre-cancerous lesions are found in women of childbearing ageAlso, multiple pregnancies increase the risk of cervical cancer when between 5 to 7 full-term pregnancies have been experienced
20Just remember... It is possible to develop cervical cancer If you have a number of risk factors,find out from your health practitioneror CANSA Care Centrewhat you can do toreduce your riskIt is possibleto develop cervical cancerwith or without the risk factors we’ve discussedThe more risk factors you have,the greater your likelihood of developing cervical cancer
21Cervical screening is available at CANSA’s Mobile Clinics and Care Centres country-wide
22Join the fight against cervical cancer... Get screened Make a donation Become a member Sign up as a volunteer
23To assist CANSA expand its cancer screening programmes, please consider making a donation at any of our more than 50 CANSA Care Centres country-wide