Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that affects the cells of the cervix. Cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. According to the World Health Organisation, almost all cervical cancer cases are linked to infection by high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), a common sexually transmitted virus.
It is one of the most easily prevented cancers yet is the fourth most common cancer found in women. Cervical cancer is also one of the most treatable types of cancer. In fact even if the cancer is diagnosed in late stages, it can be controlled with appropriate treatment and palliative care.
All women are at risk of developing cervical cancer. This risk increases once they become sexually active as most cases of cervical cancer can be traced back to HPV infections. According to WHO, generating awareness about this type of cancer is essential in winning the fight against the spread of cervical cancer.
Steps taken to prevent Cervical Cancer
Let us explore some simple yet necessary steps to take to prevent cervical cancer.
- Cervical screening is recommended for women aged 21 years and above. The frequency of screening recommended depends on the age. Women between the ages of 21 years-49 years of age are advised to go for cervical screening once every three years while women between the ages of 50-64 are advised to be screened once every 5 years.
- Cervical cancer vaccination is the most effective way to minimise the risk of developing cervical cancer caused by HPV. It can protect the individual against 4 types of HPV including two high-risk strains responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. HPV vaccinations can be started at the age of 9 years and is recommended for preteens aged between 11-12 years and upto 26 years of age.
- Use of condoms while having sexual intercourse can lower the risk of transmission of HPV between sexual partners as well as other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, chlamydia etc.
- Limiting the number of sexual partners reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases including HPV. While most types of HPV are harmless and go away without treatment, some strains (high-risk HPV) are responsible for the majority of cervical cancers.
- Studies suggest that there is a link between smoking and developing cervical cancer. Smoking is also a well known risk factor in a number of conditions such as strokes, cardiac conditions etc. So, quitting smoking is always advised.
The most important aspect of cervical cancer prevention is maintaining regular visits to your gynaecologist after puberty at the best hospital in Gurgaon. This will help you ensure that you live a healthy life and even help prevent any problems with fertility. Regular pap smears can help detect precancerous conditions of the cervix helping doctors monitor or treat any condition that can result in cervical cancer. It is generally advised to start having pap tests at the age of 21 years. If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, get your treatment done at the Best hospital for cancer treatment in Gurgaon as early as possible.
Consult your gynaecologist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
- Foul smelling, heavy or watery bloody vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse