Cervical Cancer: What Is It and Can I Prevent It?

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects it to the vagina. Cervical cancer develops slowly, usually taking several years. This provides an opportunity for finding and treating pre-cancerous cells in the cervix.


In its early stages, cervical cancer rarely has symptoms. Symptoms usually develop in more advanced disease, which include irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge, or pain during sex.

Risk factors
  • Becoming sexually active at a young age (especially younger than 18 years old)
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Family history of cervical cancer
  • Smoking
  • Age between 20 and 50
  • Long-term use of the birth control pill
  • Three or more full-term pregnancies
  • Weakened immune system
  • First pregnancy before age 17

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent cervical cancer. The most important ones are getting the HPV vaccine early and having regular screening tests.

You can also prevent cervical cancer by:

  • Having regular medical check-ups
  • Limiting the number of your sexual partners
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Not using birth control pills for an extended period
  • Not smoking

For more tips on how to prevent cervical cancer, read “Cervical Cancer: How to lower your risk”.

Consult your doctor for more information on cervical cancer prevention and screening. Get the HPV vaccine at the participating Watsons branch near you.


https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer/understanding-cervical-cancer-prevention. Accessed 17 March 2022


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