- Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in cells of the cervix
- This kind of cancer is quite common in women
- HPV vaccine can help in preventing cervical cancer
World Cancer Day is observed on February 4. This day is meant to raise awareness about cancer, its treatment, remission, preventive tips and more. Cervical cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer amongst Indian women after breast cancer, accounting for % of all cancer cases. There are many causes and risk factors associated with cervical cancer which include human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, having many sexual partners, smoking, taking birth control pills, and engaging in early sexual contact. HPV infection may cause cervical dysplasia, or abnormal growth of cervical cells.
(World Cancer Day: What you need to know about cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) transmissions influenced by sexual activity and age play a role in causing most cervical cancer. Over % of sexually active adults are likely to be infected with any one type of HPV. While most of these infections resolve, barely 1% or even less of HPV infections result in cancer.
Cervical cancer is fairly common in women
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When exposed to HPV, a woman’s immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small group of women, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cells on the surface of the cervix to become cancer cells. Women can avoid contracting genital HPV infections by the usage of contraceptives. They must also adhere to routine screening tests and a vaccine that protects them against HPV.
Also read: Not Just Women, Men Too Need HPV Vaccinations To Safeguard Against Cervical Cancer
Awareness programs, screening initiatives through Pap smear tests and HPV vaccination campaigns can prevent the tragedy of cervical cancer. Below are a few explained:
Screening Regular screening through Papanicolaou test, commonly known as PAP smear test and HPV tests can help detect cancer even in precancerous and early stages. These tests help to catch precancerous cell changes early and prevent the development of cervical cancer. Ideally, women should start getting regular Pap smears from the age of 30 during their annual health check-ups. If a woman is over 64 and has had three normal Pap tests in a row, she can then have a test every five years if the test is combined with an HPV screening.
Also read: Why A Pap Smear Is Important? Health Conditions That It Detects
With HPV vaccines now available, vaccination against HPV is the best way to prevent cervical cancer. The vaccination should ideally be given at an early age before any sexual contact. But even if not given early, all women should go in for this vaccine as it is not necessary that just because they are sexually active, they would have contracted this virus. The HPV vaccine covers the age group of 20 – and can be given up to (years of age.
) Also read: Why Has Cancer Become So Common? What Makes Young People Succumb To Cancer? Many More Queries Answered By Luke Coutinho
A few symptoms of cervical cancer that every woman needs to be cautious about include abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding including bleeding after sexual intercourse or after menopause; pain during sex, vaginal discharge, and pelvic pain not related to menstrual cycle. These symptoms could also be signs of other health problems, not related to cervical cancer, so it is best to consult a doctor for advice. Since cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, an increase in awareness and necessary precautions can significantly reduce the risk factors and eventually reduce the prevalence by a great percentage in the future.
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