Preventive Education
Cervical cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope). Cervical cancer is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope). Cervical cancer is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL WHICH IS POSSIBLE BY PAP SMEAR, IDEALLY It is recommended that women who are between the ages of 25 and 49 are screened every three years, and women between the ages of 50 and 64 are screened every five years. .

Statistics

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, and 80% of cases occur in the developing world. It is the leading cause of death from cancer among women in developing countries, where it causes about 190,000 deaths each year.

A lack of effective screening programs aimed at detecting and treating precancerous conditions is a key reason for the much higher cervical cancer incidence in developing countries. It has been estimated that only about 5% of women in developing countries have been screened for cervical dysplasia in the past 5 years, compared with 40% to 50% of women in developed countries

Cervical cancer is ranked as the most frequent cancer in women in India. India has a population of approximately 365.71 million women above 15 years of age, who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. The current estimates indicate approximately 132,000 new cases diagnosed and 74,000 deaths annually in India, accounting to nearly 1/3rd of the global cervical cancer deaths.

Risk factors

Human papilloma virus infection. The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV) causing a type of growth called a papilloma commonly known as warts. HPV can be passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact. One way HPV is spread is through sex, including vaginal and anal intercourse and even oral sex.

Smoking. Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. Tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. Researchers believe that these substances damage the DNA of cervix cells and may contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Smoking also makes the immune system less effective in fighting HPV infections.

Immunosuppression. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, damages the immune system and puts women at higher risk for HPV infections. This might explain why women with AIDS have an increased risk for cervical cancer. Another group of women at risk of cervical cancer are women being treated for an autoimmune disease (in which the immune system sees the body's own tissues as foreign and attacks them, as it would a germ) or those who have had an organ transplant.

Chlamydia infection. Chlamydia is a relatively common kind of bacteria that can infect the reproductive system. It is spread by sexual contact. Women who are infected with chlamydia often have no symptoms, they may not know that they are infected at all unless they are tested for chlamydia during a pelvic exam.

Diet. Women whose diets don't include enough fruits and vegetables may be at increased risk for cervical cancer. Overweight women are more likely to develop adenocarcinoma of the cervix.

Oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Research suggests that the risk of cervical cancer goes up the longer a woman takes OCs, but the risk goes back down again after the OCs are stopped. In one study, the risk of cervical cancer was doubled in women who took birth control pills longer than 5 years, but the risk returned to normal 10 years after they were stopped.

Intrauterine device use. A recent study found that women who had ever used an intrauterine device (IUD) had a lower risk of cervical cancer. The effect on risk was seen even in women who had an IUD for less than a year, and the protective effect remained after the IUDs were removed. Using an IUD might also lower the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer. However, IUDs do have some risks.

Multiple full-term pregnancies. Women who have had 3 or more full-term pregnancies have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. No one really knows why this is true.

Young age at the first full-term pregnancy. Women who were younger than 17 years when they had their first full-term pregnancy are almost 2 times more likely to get cervical cancer later in life than women who waited to get pregnant until they were 25 years or older.

Poverty. Many low-income women do not have ready access to adequate health care services, including Pap tests. This means they may not get screened or treated for cervical pre-cancers.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES). DES is a hormonal drug that was given to some women to prevent miscarriage between 1940 and 1971. Women whose mothers took DES (when pregnant with them) develop clear-cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina or cervix more often than would normally be expected. This type of cancer is extremely rare in women who haven't been exposed to DES.

Family history of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer may run in some families. If your mother or sister had cervical cancer, your chances of developing the disease are 2 to 3 times higher than if no one in the family had it.

Measures to prevent
  • Use condoms to prevent contact, if warts develop seek medical attention as early as possible.
  • Cessation of smoking.
  • Medical advice for retroviral therapy for AIDS. For Immunosuppression women need to be careful with their diet, incorporating multi vitamins and minerals supplements.
  • Getting tested for chlamydia infection if unprotected sex has occurred.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables along with physical activity.
  • Seek medical advice if using oral contraceptive pills for a long period of time and get an evaluation with a doctor if you are at risk.
  • Intrauterine device use is encouraged as it reduces the risk of cervical cancer.
  • Family planning to reduce Multiple full-term pregnancies and Young age first full-term pregnancy.
  • Screening of females with a family history of cervical cancer or mother having used Diethylstilbestrol.
Treatment options available

The options for treating each patient with cervical cancer depend on the stage of disease. The stage of a cancer describes its size, depth of invasion (how far it has grown into the cervix), and how far it has spread.

Common types of treatments for cervical cancer include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Often a combination of treatments is used.

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