A Pap smear is a medical procedure used to test for cervical cancer. It also called a Pap test and it involves the collection of cells from a woman’s cervix and examined for signs of abnormal growth of suspected cancer cells. In Singapore, cervical cancer is among the top ten common cancer affecting Singaporean women. Each year, there are lots of new diagnoses and the number keeps on getting higher year by year.
Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix, a part of a woman’s reproductive system and can be found on the lower narrowed end of the uterus. The cervix plays a very important role in a woman’s body as it performs two major functions. One is to allow the flow of menstrual blood from the uterus to exit into the vagina, and two, the cervix is responsible for directing direct the sperms into the uterus during sexual intercourse. Cervical cancer develops when the normal cervical cells grow in an abnormal fashion and in an uncontrollable rate inside the body. This abnormal growth can lead to damage and invasion to the other parts of the woman’s reproductive system and can disrupt normal functions.
Who should get a pap smear in Singapore?
- All women who starting in their early 20’s.
All women starting in their early 20’s are recommended to have a Pap smear in Singapore is essential for the early detection of cervical cancer. Remember when they say that prevention is better than cure? Well, they are right and in the case of cervical cancer, early detection is paramount to the success of its cure. In addition to detecting abnormal cells in the cervix, a routine Pap smear in Singapore can also detect changes in your cervical cells that can suggest the development of cancer.
However, women who are above 65 or have had a total hysterectomy or had their cervix removed for medical reasons need not get a pap smear because there is no chance of developing cervical cancer anymore. Pap smear in Singapore can be taken three times (3x) a year.
- Women who are sexually active.
Cervical cancer is caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which can be transmitted through sexual contact. This is why the risk of having cervical cancer is high for women who engage in casual sex and have multiple sexual partners. Pap smear is an important test to determine your overall health and help you get a chance for a cure for cervical cancer. This is why, if you are sexually active and engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners, make it part of your health plan to schedule for a pap smear.
- Women who have HIV or STDs.
Since the body’s immune system is weakened when you are infected with HIV and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), women with HIV or have contracted STDs have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. In fact, if you are diagnosed with these diseases, your doctor will also most likely recommend that you get a pap smear to check for possible cancer cells in your cervix.
- Women who are heavy smokers or have a history of smoking.
We all know that smoking can greatly affect our health in a negative way and the cervix is no exception for the receiving these negative effects. Studies have shown that women who are heavy smokers or has a history of smoking are prone to developing cervical cancer. So, if you have a close relationship with your cigarettes, then make sure that you get pap smear test regularly to help you detect signs of cervical cancer early.
- Women who use (or have used) birth control pills for a very long time.
Like the abovementioned reasons, women who use (or have used) birth control pills for a very long time also have higher risks for developing cervical cancer and are encouraged to have a pap smear test every now and then to be sure.
What are the recommended foods to eat to prepare for a pap smear?
To help you be nutritionally ready for your pap smear in Singapore, here’s a list of food you should eat to keep your cervix healthy. This list is recommended by dbclinic.com.sg, a leading clinic in Singapore that provides quality and evidence-based treatments for men and women’s reproductive health.
Studies have suggested that having high levels of beta carotene in your body lowers the chance of developing abnormal cervical cells that leads to cervical cancer. To help you have a healthy cervix, fill your grocery list with fruits and vegetables that are high in beta-carotene such as carrots, cantaloupe, peaches, and squash.
- Folic acid
Scientists have also shown that having a diet rich in folic acid may halt or delay the development of cervical cancer in women infected with human papillomavirus. Food rich in folic acid are legumes, asparagus, eggs, dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits, among others.
- Vitamin C
There is a reason why vitamin C is always listed as the top-recommended food to eat for any type of medical concerns. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can flush away free radicals that can cause the development of cancer cells in the body. Vitamin C also aids in tissue repair and helps your body heal faster from any form of oxidative stress. Food rich in vitamin C are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper and strawberries. You can never go wrong by adding a daily dose of vitamin C in your daily diet.