Dr Visham Bhimull, Family Physician MBBS (UWI) explains that cancer is the result of the uncontrolled division and growth of abnormal cells. Most of the cells in our body have a set lifespan, and when they die, the body generates new cells to replace them.
However, in the case of cancer, abnormal cells may not die or may continue to divide which results in an excessive growth of cells. This growth eventually forms a mass, or tumour. Among the many cancers that exist, cervical cancer continues to be a huge threat to women’s health. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. While advances in the medical field have helped to decrease the mortality rates caused by cervical cancer, it is also crucial to engage in preventative methods.
It is of utmost importance that women between the ages of 21 and 65 get regular pap smear tests to screen for changes associated with cervical cancer. However, it is also wise to eat healthy food as an everyday practice to promote good cervical health. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may be useful in the prevention of cervical cancer. Experts believe that a diet high in antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, and folate found in fruits and vegetables can help the body fight the HPV infection and prevent HPV from turning healthy cells of the cervix into cancerous lesions. According to Everyday Health, here are a list of cancer-fighting chemical compounds that can be found in various fruits and vegetables that you can consider adding to your daily diet.
Flavonoids: apples, asparagus, black beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cranberries, garlic, lettuce, onions, soy and spinach
Folate: avocados, chickpeas, fortified cereals and breads, lentils, orange juice, romaine lettuce and strawberries
Carotenoids: orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin
In conclusion, safe sexual practices, regular screening and a healthy diet rich in the above components can greatly reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer. Let us continue to encourage ourselves and others to make the healthy every day choices in our ongoing battle against this disease.