World Cancer Day 2024: What is Cervical Cancer? Experts explain the initial signs, symptoms and precautions to be taken

Cervical cancer is a prevalent health concern affecting women worldwide, with approximately 570,000 new cases reported annually. Emerging as a major public health problem, this deadly disease mainly originates in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.

As the global medical community is intensifying efforts to combat this preventable disease, the ongoing discussion around cervical cancer calls for accessible health care, widespread awareness campaigns and equitable distribution of resources to ensure effective prevention and treatment strategies. Throws light on.

But what is cervical cancer? What are its initial signs, causes, symptoms? Dr. Roli Banthia, Consultant-Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yatharth Hospital, Noida Extension, explains how cervical cancer occurs and what are its prevention measures.

Also Read: World Cancer Day 2024: Date, theme, history, significance and quotes that echo strength

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The primary cause of cervical cancer is persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Over time, this infection can cause the growth of abnormal cells that can lead to cancer.

Early symptoms of cervical cancer:

The early symptoms of cervical cancer may not be obvious, so regular checkups are important. However, possible early signs include abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause. Additionally, increased vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or pain during intercourse may indicate early stages of cervical cancer.

Causes of Cervical Cancer:

The primary cause of cervical cancer is infection with certain types of HPV. Other risk factors include smoking, weakened immune system, long-term use of birth control pills, multiple sexual partners, and early onset of sexual activity.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer:

Symptoms of cervical cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, and increased vaginal discharge. In the advanced stage, weight loss, fatigue and swelling in the legs may occur.

Who is vulnerable to cervical cancer?

Women have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, especially those who have persistent HPV infection. Other risk factors include a family history of cervical cancer, smoking, long-term use of birth control pills, a weakened immune system, and engaging in high-risk sexual behavior.

Precautions for Cervical Cancer:

HPV vaccination: Vaccination against high-risk HPV types is a primary preventive measure. HPV vaccination is an important preventive measure against cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases, which is recommended for both men and women, ideally before the beginning of sexual activity. Administered in two or three doses, the vaccine targets high-risk HPV types, significantly reducing the risk of persistent infection that can lead to cervical cancer.

Recommended by organizations such as CDC and WHO, routine vaccination for adolescents and catch-up vaccination for individuals up to age 26 contributes to community immunity and overall public health. Despite proven effectiveness, overcoming vaccine hesitancy and improving access is essential to maximize the impact of HPV vaccination in preventing a range of HPV-related cancers and diseases.

, Regular Screening: Regular Pap smears or HPV tests can detect abnormal changes in the cervix early, allowing timely intervention and prevention.

, Safe sexual practices: Practicing safe sex, including consistent and correct contraceptive use, can reduce the risk of HPV transmission.

Treatment includes: Treatment options for cervical cancer depend on the stage of the disease and may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Early-stage cervical cancer may be treated with surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, while more advanced stages may require a combination of treatments.

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