A couple of days ago, I received heartbreaking news from one of my relatives. Her mother is suspected of having cervical cancer, stage two, escalating to stage three. As of this writing, they are waiting for the biopsy result to confirm this diagnosis.
Despite the high possibility of her mother having the said disease because of the overwhelming symptoms she is manifesting, we still hope for a breakthrough miracle. Otherwise, the doctor advises the family that she needs to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.
Most adult men and women will contract the HPV (human papillomavirus) at some point in their lives. In 2017, I was diagnosed with HPV 66 and felt shocked, devastated, and strange. Although, the majority of those infections will not result in cancer. However, understanding the facts about HPV and the HPV vaccine can assist you in protecting yourself and your family from HPV-related cancers like cervical cancer.
Because of the news about my relative, I became anxious. My close group consists primarily of girls and women. I felt compelled to inform my close friends and family about the HPV vaccine, which I did.
What exactly is HPV?
HPV is an abbreviation for human papillomavirus, which has 49 genotypes and is divided into two groups: (1) High-Risk HPV and (2) Low-Risk HPV. Learn about them here.
High-Risk HPVs are viruses that can cause cancer, including cervical cancer and cancers of the anus, vagina, penis, and other areas. While Low-Risk HPVs are viruses that can cause genital warts, and they are usually harmless.
Mine was HPV 66, which is a High-Risk virus. While HPV numbers 16 & 18 carry a risk of becoming cancer. HPV is almost the cause of genital warts and cervical cancer or Cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix). Although some research says that HPV may go off by itself after one or two years if someone has a healthy immune system.
In my case, I am prone to having an inflammation of the cervix.
How can I protect myself against HPV?
Helpful Reads: HPV 66, is it Deadly?, FAQs About HPV, Facts You Must Remember about Human Papillomavirus (HPV), The Best Guide to Manage PCOS, Home Remedies to Manage Adenomyosis, Quick FAQs about Iron Deficiency, Life with Adenomyosis, 3 Things I Hate the Most about Adenomyosis
#1. HPV Vaccine
HPV vaccines can be given to children as young as nine years old. Teens and young adults should also be immunized. If they have not been fully vaccinated, everyone under 26 should get the HPV vaccine. In my case, I recently completed my three doses of Gardasil 9. It is the vaccine that my doctor prescribed since I’m already in my mid-30s.
#2. Safe Sex
Since HPV is an STD (sexually transmitted infection), it is preferable to have protected sex. Both men and women must engage in safe sex at all times. You must take charge of your health by exercising, eating healthier, and engaging in safe sexual activity. Learn about the 5 Best Ways of Safe Sex.
#3. Don’t Procrastinate
My mistake was ignoring this issue when I first experienced my cervix and uterus problems. I recall being introduced to cervical cancer and its vaccine when I was in my twenties. It was pretty expensive, and I didn’t have much money to spend on it; thus, I kept it parked until I was diagnosed with HPV and faced a life-or-death situation in 2018.
And the realization started to kick in. I read medical articles about HPV and did not waste time doing all the procedures and tests that my doctors had advised me. Also, I became an advocate for spreading awareness about it because I don’t want any women, even men experience an illness that has a bad stigma in society. And I don’t wish anybody to experience the pain of battling cancer.
#4. It is not a waste of monies but an excellent investment.
Good health is the best investment we can make for ourselves and our loved ones. When we talk about good health, we naturally think about money. Consider your trip to the grocery store today. Prices for food commodities, let alone organic produce, are skyrocketing.
It turns out that we have a wide range of options for taking care of our health in terms of food, activities, and even healthcare facilities. All you have to do is maintain a positive attitude and avoid viewing it as a waste of money, which it is not.
For instance, I was advised to undergo some costly medical procedures in 2019, so my hubby and I decided to use our public hospitals in the Philippines to save money. We made sacrifices to live as LDR for a while so that I could focus on my health and he could focus on his career. This move is viewed as an investment by us. And we had a fantastic outcome. Now, my health is practically okay, we’re back together, and my hubby’s career has progressed positively.
A little progress toward better health every day adds up. Consider what habits you need to develop to improve your health. Have the commitment and willingness to enjoy life for a longer period of time. Be healthy! There will be times when we feel anxious or fearful; that is okay; don’t dwell on them. Continue on a positive note!
Again, HPV and cancer are not a joke. So, please take good care of yourself.
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