No Harm in Checking

By Alexander Lin, MD 2019-05-29 12:01:01

The bad news is that cervical cancer is on the rise. The good news is that it's highly preventable.

From Dr. Lin, Jiahui International Hospital


According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women worldwide with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 alone. In China it is even more prevalent, and has a fatality rate of 61.5%.

Now for the good news: cervical cancer is entirely preventable, detectable and treatable. But that means being proactive and getting informed. At Jiahui Health, we think that prevention is worth double the cure.Our Women’s Health Center provides international standard screening services at affordable prices, using state-of-the-art technology and facilities.


What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix grow abnormally. It is usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and is common in women aged 20-45 worldwide.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Like many other cancers, early stage cervical cancer has no symptoms, which makes screening all the more crucial for early detection. At later stages, common symptoms include pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, or pain during sexual intercourse.


What causes cervical cancer?

The most common cause is the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that accounts for nearly all cases globally. Around 8 in 10 sexually active people will be exposed to HPV in their lifetime. Most of these people won’t develop significant health problems and almost all cases of HPV go away by themselves. However, if undetected, HPV infection still poses a considerable risk of developing into life-threatening cancer. Smoking increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. The use of oral contraceptive pills has also been found to be associated.


How is cervical cancer detected?

Cervical cancer can be detected in its early stages through screening tests, such as a Pap smear or HPV test. Early detection means early treatment, which greatly reduces the risk of fatality. We offer both of these tests as well as others in our extensive screening packages.


How often should I have a Pap smear and HPV test done?

• For women aged 21-29, a Pap smear every 3 years is recommended. HPV tests are not routinely needed but may be done if the Pap smear results are abnormal.

• For women aged 30-65, a Pap smear every 3 years or combined Pap smear and HPV test every 5 years are recommended.

• For those aged above 65, a Pap smear and HPV test is usually no longer needed though it’s best to consult with a doctor to determine your needs.

• More frequent testing may be required if:

• Your Pap smear or HPV results are abnormal.

• You have HIV or other conditions that suppress your immune system.


What can I do to reduce the risk of cervical cancer?

In addition to screening and vaccinations, preventive measures you can take are: not smoking, practicing safe sex, and limiting your number of sexual partners.


Alexander Lin, MD

Director of Women’s Health at Jiahui International Hospital

Chief of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and Director of Women’s Health at Jiahui Health. Dr. Lin brings 24 years of experience in caring for pregnant women and managing their obstetrical care and birthing experience. He specializes in minimally invasive gynecological surgery, including robotic surgery, and treatment of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, abnormal uterine bleeding, and cervical dysplasia. Dr Lin has served as a Board Examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the past 10 years.