by Dr. Anuradha Shah
India has a population of 436.76 million women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer in India ranks as the 2nd most frequent cancer among women.
Current estimates indicate that every year 122844 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 67477 die from the disease.
Factors contributing to cervical cancer
- Cervical cancer is caused by infection by a virus, called the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. Certain strains of this virus are cancer causing, especially 16, 18.
- Sexual activity at an early age and multiple sexual partners increase the chances of HPV transmission and cervical cancer.
- Incidence is also higher among women of lower socio-economic classes who have more children, chew tobacco or smoke, on long-term hormonal contraceptive use, poor genital hygiene and malnutrition.
Cervical cancer screening practices:
The Pap Smear test is recommended annually for sexually active women over 30 years for early detection of cervical cancer.
Protective factors for cervical cancer:
Male circumcision and the use of condoms have shown a significant protective effect against HPV transmission.
Vaccination against types 16 and 18 HPV infections may be given.