Cervical cancer is regarded as one of the deadliest forms of cancer that occurs among women in India. According to the statistics on cervical cancer, around 122,844 women every year in India are diagnosed with cervical cancer and out of that mostly 67,477 succumb to it.
However, despite these huge numbers, it still remains one of the most lesser known diseases in India. There is still a lack of awareness around the topic. So, let’s first discuss what exactly is cervical cancer and how it is caused.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that originates from the Cervix. Abnormal cell growth in case of cervical cancer can be seen, which has the ability to spread to other parts of the body too. HPV is the main reason behind cervical cancer.
Some of the risk factors in case of cervical cancer could be smoking, having sex in the early years of life, birth control pills and having multiple sex partners.
Let us now look at some of the facts related to cervical cancer
Most women who contract cervical cancer are diagnosed for it before the age of 50 years. However, older women are more at a risk.
If detected early, a patient has an early survival rate of nearly 91 per cent. But, when detected in the advanced stage, the rate of survival plummet to 16 per cent approximately.
Although HPV, which is the main reason behind cervical cancer, transmits through sexual activity, in certain cases, it could also be transmitted through skin contact.
It is that women who have persistent HPV infection contract cervical cancer; but the stats have also shown that a large number of women diagnosed with persistent HPV infection do not develop cervical cancer.
Did you know that the majority of HPV infection lasts only for sometime? A newly contracted HPV infection in women lasts from 8-13 months.
The risk of cervical cancer doesn’t decrease with age, in fact it increases. So, the logical thing is to get screened for it regularly.
Myths About Cervical Cancer
Myth #1: You don’t need to get a screening done after a certain age
It is very important to get it screened regularly if you have ever had a sexual partner. The chances of contracting cervical cancer only increase with age.
Myth #2: It is genetic
Most people assume that since no one in their family was ever diagnosed with it, it means they are not at risk. But, the fact is, you are at the risk of contracting it despite having no family background of it.
Myth #3: You should get it screened only if you have a symptom
You can be diagnosed with HPV infection, despite having no symptoms. Women should go in for PAP tests regularly, even if they are vaccinated.
Beginning 21 years of age, each woman should get screened for cervical cancer. The PAP Smear tests are used to record any abnormal growth in the cervix. If in the tests there is an abnormal growth, your doctor could suggest you to go in for advanced tests such as HPV test for cervical cancer.
Women between the ages of 30 and65 years must get PAP Smear and HPV test done to screen for abnormal growth and HPV infection.
The early diagnosis of the disease can increase the survival rate tremendously. With 1,23,000 new cases diagnosed with cervical cancer in India every year, it becomes all the more important to spread more awareness about this disease and get the screening done more regularly.