Cervical Cancer Awareness: How to reduce the risk of developing this cancer | Health


Cervical Cancer Awareness: Cervical cancer is the type of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Symptoms of Cervical cancer includes vaginal bleeding in between the menstrual cycle, and after sexual intercourse as well. Usually, lower abdominal pain and lower back pain also denotes Cervical cancer. However, in some cases, Cervical cancer may not show any symptoms at all in the early stages. But, with a little precaution, Cervical cancer can be prevented, and the risk of developing this cancer can be slashed. January is observed as Cervical Cancer Awareness month, and during this time, awareness regarding the disease is spread.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, By Dr Rashmi Rekha Bora, Consultant, Department of Gynae Oncology Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram said, “More than 99% cases of cervical cancer are attributed to cervical HPV infection, which is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the infection is usually asymptomatic and transient. There are more than 100 genotypes of HPV that have been identified, and which are numbered by order of their discovery, about 13 types can lead to invasive cervical cancer and they are known as high oncogenic risk (16,18,31,33,35,39,45,51,52,56,58,59,66) (WHO 2007). The two most common are 16 and 18 causing approximately 70% of all invasive cervical carcinoma (60% related to HPV 16 and 10% to HPV 18).”

ALSO READ: Can you still get cervical cancer if you don’t engage in sexual activity?

Adding to this, Dr. Tejinder Kataria, Chairperson, Radiation Oncology, Cancer Center, Medanta – The Medicity said, “Primary prevention of cervical cancer includes vaccination against Human Papilloma virus (HPV) starting between the ages of 9-11 years for girls. All women should receive the vaccine by 26 years of age or before having first sexual intercourse. Two or three vaccination schedules are recommended and can prevent cancer cervix in 99% of the women who complete vaccination. There are many types of HPV but most common cancer-causing variants are type 16 and 18.”

Dr Tejinder Kataria recommended regular screening for prevention of Cervical cancer – “Secondary prevention means regular screening to detect precancerous lesions on cervix by Visual Inspection with acetic acid or Lugol’s iodine (VIA/VILI), Papanicolaou test (Pap test or Pap smear) and HPV DNA (Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid) testing are the other tests used for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. A precancerous lesion like dysplasia grade1 may take 15-20 years to progress to cancer. It can be treated by surgical approach to prevent cervical cancer.”

Dr Rashmi Rekha Bora recommended HPV vaccination for all adolescents as part of their routine vaccines, which can be started at the age of 9.

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