March Lilac: Cervical Cancer Prevention Month

March is an important month for women not only for the woman and all that time of day is, but also for being the warning month for prevention of cancer of the cervix.

This is what the Lilac March proposes, a campaign that seeks to make women aware of the risks of this disease.

According to data from the National Cancer Institute (INCA), in 2018 alone, more than 16 thousand new cases of this type of cancer were registered.

In the following text, we explain a little more about the campaign and how women can prevent themselves. Check out!


What is March Lilac?

March Lilac is the month of awareness about the importance of preventing cervical cancer , the fourth leading cause of death of women from cancer in Brazil, according to the National Cancer Institute (INCA).

Throughout the month, public and private health institutions promote campaigns to raise awareness among the female population about the risks of developing the disease, about the symptoms and how to prevent it.

Actions take different forms according to each state, but all have the same objective: to reduce the number of deaths from cervical cancer and promote prevention from an early age.

The campaign, therefore, also warns of the importance of protecting against STDs, since the HPV virus is the main cause of cervical cancer.

Therefore, throughout the month of March, women are encouraged to maintain a regular routine of visits to the gynecologist and to undergo preventive exams, such as the pap smear , which helps to detect the infection caused by HPV and possible changes in the cervix.

Origin of March Lilac

It is not clear when the March of Lilac campaign began.

However, it is known that for many years, March has been considered the month of women and, for this reason, it has also become a favorable moment to also warn about the risk of one of the diseases responsible for causing so many deaths annually.

Thus, in addition to the month representing women’s struggle for political, economic and social achievements, it is also a space to remember the care that must be taken in relation to women’s health, but with a focus on this type of cancer.

Why lilac?

It is believed that the origin of the color lilac as a symbol of the month of women is related to the movement that occurred in England, in 1908, in which women fought for the right to vote.

In this episode, which became known as the suffragette movement, women chose the colors lilac, white and green as symbols of the campaign.

In the 60s and 70s, the feminist movement had a resumption again, with the color lilac always present as a symbol of the struggle.

It would be for this history that the campaign against cervical cancer also takes the same color.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer, also known as cervical cancer, is caused by the persistent infection of the HPV virus, the Human Papillomavirus.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, being in most people asymptomatic, but when it arouses symptoms, it can cause the appearance of genital warts and itching.

Read more: Why should I vaccinate my child against HPV?

When infection with this virus causes cellular changes, the chances of developing cervical cancer are greater.

In addition to infection by this virus, which occurs through unprotected sex, other factors may favor the development of this type of cancer, such as other STDs, smoking and various pregnancies.

Despite being a serious condition, cervical cancer can be easily prevented by performing a Pap smear periodically.

What are the symptoms?

It is also part of the March of Lilac campaign to inform women about the symptoms of cervical cancer. However, it is not always easy to identify the disease in this way.

In some cases the development of the disease is slow and does not show any signs during the initial phase. For this and other reasons it is so important to prevent the condition.

At the most advanced stage, some symptoms may appear. It is important to pay attention to the appearance of the following signs:

  • Abdominal pain associated with intestinal and urinary problems;
  • Vaginal bleeding;
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse;
  • Abnormal vaginal secretions;
  • Irregular menstruation;
  • Fatigue;
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason;
  • Nausea.

How to prevent it?

The main way to prevent cervical cancer is through the Pap smear, which allows the collection of cells from the cervix and shows if there is any infection or variation in these tissues. The exam is simple and lasts a few minutes.

It must be done by all women aged 25 years who have an active sex life, at three-year intervals. When the woman has risk factors for the disease, a lower frequency between exams may be requested.

This test helps to identify HPV infection and other possible complications that may lead to the development of cervical cancer.

In addition to the tests, the woman can also prevent herself by receiving the vaccine against the HPV virus.

However, it is important to emphasize that the vaccine does not dispense with the need for tests, as it does not protect women from all types of HPV viruses.

The use of condoms must also be a preventive measure against this type of virus, also preventing other sexually transmitted diseases.

Read more: 11 tips to prevent cancer and fight risk factors

Despite being a serious disease, when the diagnosis is early, the chances of a cure for cervical cancer are great.

With the tests performed periodically, it is possible to identify the tumor still in its initial stage, improving the chances of successful treatment.

In most cases, symptoms appear only when the cancer is at a more advanced stage, so prevention needs to be encouraged.

This is the purpose of March Lilac!

Share what the campaign is and help more women to know the importance of this care. Thanks for reading!