Cancer cervix is the third most common cancer in women worldwide & second most common cancer in India. The disease is preventable by screening & early diagnosis & treatment is associated with good clinical outcome. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) is the premalignant stage of disease & Human papilloma virus (HPV) is identified as causative agent in most cases.
Dr Shallu Kakkar, Additional Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur:
- Cervical cancer is the cancer of the mouth of the uterus (cervix). Anyone having an excessively foul and smelly vaginal discharge or postcoital bleeding, irregular vaginal bleeding or has had unprotected sex at an early age, multiple sexual partners, smoking and low immune system can lead to exposure to HPV virus infection of the cervix.
- It is a preventable disease if detected and treated in time, and that can only happen if one goes for a regular Gynae checkup like a paps smear test in OPD (cytology smear test of the cervical area by brush & spatula) to see early changes so that one doesn’t develop cancer. Cervical cancer can be detected before stage 1 also that is in the precancer state, by doing a routine screen test for all women from 30 years of age and onwards. This type of cancer if detected in the precancerous stage, is highly curable without any need for surgery or radiotherapy and chemotherapy. On the other hand, advanced stages of cancer need surgery and other treatment modalities with a lesser survival rate.
- There is a vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer that is to be taken between the age of 9 till 40 years, but it’s better if taken at an early age. 2 doses are recommended if taken before 14 years of age and 3 doses for the rest.
- It is to be noted that mild cervical infection and precancerous changes if treated early do not lead to cervical cancer, so avoid smoking, unprotected sex and go for routine checkups as late detection makes treatment tough and less life expectancy but early detection and prevention helps to live healthily.
So do not ignore any signs of chronic foul smelly, bloody discharge, postcoital or irregular vaginal bleeding and back pain, pelvic pain, painful intercourse and meet your Gynae for regular checkups.