Cervical Cancer – Prevention is Better than Cure

January 7, 2021 by Anurag Srivastava0


January being the Cervical cancer prevention month, now is a great time to discuss about the HPV (  Human Papilloma  Virus ),  how  it causes this cancer, what are the signs  and symptoms, how can we  diagnose it at the earliest and what are the prevention strategies. It is heartening to know that this is the only cancer which is easily preventable by early screening and  vaccination.

Let us understand this by answering few frequently asked questions:

1- What is cervix ?

Cervix is the lower part of the uterus or the  mouth of the uterus which opens in the vagina or the birth canal.

2- What is Cervical Cancer ?

Cancer is a  disease  in which cells start growing irrationally. Cancer of the cervix is called Cervical Cancer. It is easily detected by early screening tests called  Pap Smear.

3- What causes Cervical Cancer ?

Cervical Cancer is caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is  commonly spread through sexual contact. Once it enters the cells  of the cervix, it alters  the morphology of the cells, leading to precancerous cells , which if not treated  leads to cancer.

4- What puts me at risk of getting Cervical Cancer ?

All women are at risk of getting cervical cancer. But certain factors that increase your risk are

  • Smoking
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Having given birth to 3 or more children
  • Having HIV or other immuno-compromised condition

5- What are the symptoms  of Cervical Cancer ?

In the early stages, cervical cancer may be asymtomatic. But sometimes, it may present with

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Intermittent spotting
  • Bleeding post intercourse
  • Foul smelling discharge from vagina

6- What Should I do to find out if i am at Risk of Cervical Cancer ?

Screening is the  key word and what is most important is regular Screening .This is done by

  • PAP smear- this is a simple test and should  be done for all sexually active women every year. This can be done during your routine visit to the Gynaecologist . Cells are scraped from the cervix and examined for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells.
  • LBC – this is a more advanced PAP smear where we also test  for the presence of HPV virus in the cells  of the cervix. It identifies women  who are at high risk and need treatment.
  • Colposcopy – This is visual inspection of the cervix under magnification.

7 – What can I do to prevent Cervical Cancer ?

  • Get a regular Pap Smear
  • Get HPV testing if you are at high Risk
  • Avoid Multiple Sexual Partners
  • Quit Smoking
  • Use Condoms during sex
  • Get HPV vaccine

8- What is the Vaccination available and who should take it ?

Cervical Cancer is the only cancer against  which vaccine is available. There are two  types of vaccine available- Cervarix and Gardasil. All  women in the age group 11-40  yrs are recommended to take the vaccine. The earlier the  vaccine is taken , the better it is  as it produces greater number of antibodies.

Dr Amita Shah is one of the very senior gynaecologist in Gurgaon. She has more than 25 years of experience working at the top positions in some of the best hospitals in Gurgaon. Dr Amita Shah is currently associated with Apollo Cradle & Miracles Mediclinic as Medical Director HoD Obstetrics & Gynaecology. She is also Director at Global Women’s Clinic, Palam Vihar Gurgaon.

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