Importance of adequate protection during sexual intercourse should be emphasized
New Delhi, January 2, 2018: Recent statistics indicate that cervical cancer has emerged as the second most common cause of cancer deaths among Indian women aged between 15 and 44 years. On average, India reports about 122,000 new cases of cervical cancer annually, with about 67,500 women succumbing to the disease, accounting for 11.1% of total deaths related to cancer. What exacerbates the condition is that only about 3.1% of the women get screened for this condition in the country, leaving many others vulnerable to it.
Cervical cancer affects the lining of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. The cells lining the cervix comprises of two types, the squamous or flat cells and the columnar cells. The region in the cervix where there is a transition from one cell type to another is called the squamo-columnar junction. This is the area that is most prone to develop cancer. Cancer of the cervix develops gradually and becomes full-blown over time.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Cervical cancer is mostly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by longstanding infection with one of the HPVs. HPV infection is spread through sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact. An HPV infection typically resolves on its own. In some women, the HPV infection persists and causes precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix. These changes can be detected by regular cervical cancer screening (known as Pap testing). With Pap testing, a superficial sample of cells from the cervix is taken with a brush or swab during a routine pelvic examination and sent to a laboratory for analysis of the cells’ appearance.”
Some symptoms of cervical cancer include: abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal bleeding after menopause or sex, bleeding or spotting between periods, longer or heavier menstrual periods than usual, other abnormal vaginal discharge, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Cervical cancer can often be prevented with vaccination and modern screening techniques that detect precancerous changes in the cervix.Treatment for cervical cancer depends on several factors, such as the stage of the cancer, other health problems you may have and your preferences. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of the three may be used.”
Some tips to prevent cervical cancer are as follows.
- Reduce your chances of getting infected with the virus by avoiding sexual contact with multiple partners without adequate protection. condoms.
- Get a Pap test done every 3 years as timely detection can help in curing this condition.
- Quit smoking right away. Nicotine and other components found in cigarettes may pass through the blood stream and get deposited in the cervix where they can alter the growth of cervical cells. Smoking can also suppress your immune system making it more susceptible to HPV infections.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Maintain a healthy weight as being overweight or obese increases the risk of insulin resistance, which may lead to type II diabetes and increase the risk of developing cancer