Cervical Cancer - A Preventable Menace
Dr. Kanika Chopra
Cervix known as the mouth of the uterus is one of the five genital organs in a woman’s body, which is highly susceptible to developing cancer.
There are two parts cervix, ectocervix which is lower part of the cervix that lies outside the vagina and endocervix, which is the part that lies above the vagina. Cancer usually starts at the junction of ectocervix and endocervix.
WHO estimated that globally there are around 5,30,000 new cases of cervical cancer and approximately 2,70,000 deaths making the burden of the disease really heavy on mankind.
India has a population of more than 436.76 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of cervical cancer. As per 2012 estimates, 122844 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 67477 die from the disease. Cervical cancer, thus account for second most common cause of cancer among women in India.
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with virus known as HPV or Human Pappiloma Virus. HPV 16, 18 are the most oncogenic and accounts for nearly 70% of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix. Other HPV types are 6, 11, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 among many others that can be responsible for causing cancer in human body. HPV infection can lead to low grade lesions which over time gradually change to high grade pre-cancerous lesions and cancers.
Early age at marriage, early age of sexual intercourse, early age at first birth, multiple births, multiple sexual partners, history of sexually transmitted infections, poor genital hygiene and lack of awareness makes woman susceptible to cervical cancer.
So, my basic aim is to educate my readers to prevent them from falling into such a trap. Here comes the role of screening i.e. detecting pre-cancerous changes before it becomes cancerous. This simple procedure includes you visiting a gynaecologist preferably after your menses are over. So, the gynaecologist will do a PAP’s test or LBC test on you along with HPV testing as per your age. It is an absolutely painless procedure and just includes taking cervical cells with a spatula or brush for examination. As per the result of the test which will be available in approximately a week’s times, further plan of treatment can be drafted.
Cervical cancer can also be prevented by vaccinating all young females and also males against the HPV, which are available with defined dosing schedule.
So, your aim after reading this article is to educate yourself and also you near and dear ones to help me reduce the burden of this preventable disease.