by Ranabir Bhattachrayya | 03 FEB 2018
Dr. Rajni Gupta, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai discusses regarding cervical cancer.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of adult deaths all over the world. Every year, about 14 million new cancer cases are detected and 8 million people succumb to cancer. Incidentally, cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in humans and the second most common cancer in women globally. Unfortunately, India accounts for one quarter of the global burden of cervical cancer and thus there is enough room to create awareness. Cervical cancer is associated with the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. Anyhow there are some typical symptoms which are useful in detecting such. Primarily abnormal vaginal bleeding is considered as a wakeup call for cervical cancer. Vaginal bleeding can be after menopause or after sex or in between periods. Often longer or heavier menstrual periods may indicate such. Other than abnormal vaginal bleeding, there are other prominent symptoms like pain during sexual Intercourse, lower back pain and in advanced cases changes in bladder and bowel habits are also common.
With more research findings, doctors nowadays are well aware of the reasons behind cervical cancer, which is common in both urban and rural domain. HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted virus is to be blamed which has got more than 100 types and at least 13 of them can cause cervical cancer. Let's not forget that giving birth at a very young age or several pregnancies along with a weakened immune system is extremely vulnerable to cervical cancer. Smoking indeed is a major culprit and people who are vulnerable to STD (sexually transmitted diseases) are too way ahead in this regard. Often it is seen that cervical cancer is common among people in lower income group.
Interestingly treatment for cervical cancer is indeed available and it is curable also. When the cancer is confined to the cervix itself, surgery is always a good option. For advanced stage or when the cancer has spread beyond cervix, radiation therapy is often used. Otherwise, chemotherapy is an option to destroy the cancer cells. Nowadays there are several precautionary measures as well where it is almost mandatory to get HPV vaccination. Individuals can opt for having fruits, beans, whole grains, vegetables which can directly aid in the restoration of the cells infected with HPV. Smoking is prohibited and Pap smear test is considered to be the best diktat in this regard.
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