NETCARE St Anne’s takes women’s health seriously, and in partnership with CANSA Pietermaritzburg they held a session to educate staff and the public about regular pap smears that can save one’s life.Information also covered at the information sessions was causes of cervical cancer, signs and symptoms and prevention. What is cervical cancer?Cancer can grow on your cervix the same way it can grow on other body parts. Mostly cervical cancer grows slowly. It usually takes a few years for a normal cervical cell to turn cancerous, if it ever does. Finding and treating pre-cancerous cells is the best way to prevent it. Cervical cancer often does not cause symptoms until it is advanced.Causes of Cervical Cancer The human papilloma virus (HPV) is found in over 90% of cervical cancer patients and is strongly linked to the disease. There is more than 150 sub types of HPV. The HPV virus can cause normal cells on your cervix to turn abnormal. Over many years, abnormal cells can turn into cancer if they are not found and treated by a doctor. You cannot see or feel HPV or these cell changes on your cervix. Abnormal cells are sometimes called “pre-cancer” because they are not normal, but they are yet not cancer. It is important to note that cervical cancer is not hereditary like other cancers or contagious.Signs and Symptoms• Abnormal or continuous vaginal bleeding • Bleeding after intercourse • Abnormal and continuous vaginal discharge • Continuous lower abdominal pain • Pain during intercourse Prevention • See a doctor for a pap smear that can find cervical pre-cancer• Get the HPV vaccine • Contact your GP or gynaecologist for more information.- Supplied.