Cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer worldwide and the second most common cause of cancer deaths amongst Malaysian women. Sexually active women may be at risk of being affected by cervical cancer or the early stages of the disease.
Cervical cancer screening involves routine Pap smear tests aimed at women with no symptoms. It is currently recommended that all women who has had sexual intercourse should have regular Pap smear tests so that problems can be detected at an early stage and thus treated before they become a serious condition like cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus(HPV).There are over 100 identified types of HPV most of which are harmless and exhibit no symptoms. HPV is spread through sexual contact. There are 15 cancer-causing types which can lead to cervical cancer; HPV 16 and 18 together cause more than 70% of all cervical cancers in Asia Pacific and worldwide. Cancer-causing HPV types 16, 18, 45 and 31 together account for over 80% of cervical cancer cases in Asia Pacific.
Currently, there are vaccines available to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer vaccine helps prevent but does not treat these diseases. However, the vaccine is not a substitute for routine Pap smears for cervical cancer screening.