Cervical cancer is the most common cancer death among Indian women. It is cancer that is both preventable and curable. But due to a lack of awareness about this disease among Indian women, they do not get information at the right time. Due to this, it becomes difficult for doctors to save their lives. According to experts from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Center (RGCIRC), according to WHO, more than 45000 women in India died due to it in 2019. To avoid cervical cancer, there is a need to create mass awareness about its vaccination and regular screening.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer affects the cells of the cervix in women. The cervix is the part of the lower part of the uterus that is attached to the vagina. It affects the cells of this part. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by different types of HPV strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very common sexually transmitted disease that shows up as genital warts. Gradually, they convert cervical cells into cancer cells.
Possible to detect at an early stage
It is possible to detect it at an early stage, as it has a pre-cancerous stage for 10 to 15 years and can be detected by simple tests like Pap smear, By which it is possible to stop cancer from growing. Every three years, women are advised to have a Pap test. Women above 30 years of age should also undergo HPV tests.
The high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. Normally when exposed to HPV, the immune system of a woman’s body prevents that virus from doing any harm. However, the immune system of some women is not able to eliminate that virus and being exposed to high-risk HPV for a long time is at risk.
Unfortunately, there is no symptom of cervical cancer in the early stage. Its symptoms begin to appear when cancer reaches an advanced stage. Therefore, regular check-ups should be done, so that the disease can be identified at an early stage. Irregularity in menstruation, bleeding other than menstruation, bleeding after having sex, bleeding after menopause, foul-smelling discharge etc. are symptoms.
These reasons can also be responsible
Having sex with more than one person and indulging in sexual activity at a very young age are among the factors of cervical cancer. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV also increase the risk of HPV infection. Smoking also increases the risk. Due to lack of hygiene, lack of awareness and timely screening, the cases of cervical cancer are more in rural areas as compared to urban areas.
Dr Vandana says that to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, and HPV protection vaccine should be done. The vaccine is available for girls and women between the ages of nine and 26. The greatest effect of the vaccine is when the girl is vaccinated before sexual activity begins. The vaccine is given as two injections at ages 9 to 14 and as many as three injections are needed at ages 14 to 26. However, regular screening is necessary even after the vaccine. The vaccine protects against it by 70 to 80 percent. Therefore, screening is very important for early detection and timely treatment. However, according to statistics, less than 1 in 10 women had undergone cervical cancer screening in 2019.