Categories: Cancer

Awareness of Cervical Cancer

January is the month which is observed as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month globally by WHO. Cervical cancer is considered as 2nd most frequent kind of cancer and common cause of deaths due to cancer in reproductive-aged women across the world. Also, this type of cancer is symptom-free in its early stages, and that’s why it is easy to forget. This has also been one of the reasons to keep the 1st month of the year as awareness month. If detected early, cervical cancer is preventable, and curable.

One of the causes of the majority of cervical cancer is HPV – Human Papilloma Virus (mostly HPV-16 and HPV-18), which is considered as a sexually transmitted disease. However, it has been known stated by the centre of disease control and prevention that some form of HPV is contracted at some point in 80% of women in their lives, but it is not that all strains of this virus cause cervical cancer.  Most of these virus strains go away on their own, but a few persist and may lead to pre-cancer cell changes, which when not treated, become cancerous.

Apart from HPV infection, other factors like unprotected sex, HIV infection, chlamydia, weak immunity, intake of tobacco or smoking can also be risk factors for cervical cancer.

How to prevent cervical cancer?

Here are a few recommendations, which can lower the risk and help in prevention of cervical cancer

There are vaccines available that can help protect girls in young age against Human Papilloma Virus.  An HPV vaccine is not only recommended for girls, but also for boys who can be possible carriers of the virus.

As mentioned above, cervical cancer is symptom-free in its earlier stages, routine screenings are necessary.  PAP smear is an easy procedure that diagnosis unusual changes in the cells of cervix, the lower narrow end of uterus located at the top of vagina. Regular PAP tests help us find if there are any possible cancerous changes in the cells, which can be treated early.

Having safe sex, i.e., sexual connection only with one partner and correct and consistent use of condoms while having intercourse lower risk of getting cervical cancer.


Must Read : HPV vaccination: All you need to know

Symptoms of cervical cancer

Although it is symptom-free in the early stages, some symptoms appear in the disease process, which may vary person to person. These include:

    • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
    • Change in regular menstrual cycle.
    • Bleeding or pain following intercourse.
    • Pain down the back of legs or in the rectal area
    • Blood from the rectum or in the urine

Most importantly, prevention of, together with survival from, cervical cancer depends upon your awareness and considerable actions in regard to the disease.

Author : Dr. Satinder Kaur, Director & Senior ConsultantGynaecology Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi

Narayana Health

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