Cervical cancer originates from cells in the cervix. A tumour which is cancerous (malignant) is a collection of cancer cells that have the ability to spread and kill neighbouring tissue. Moreover, the tumours may ‘metastasize’, or expand, to other body areas. To explain, the reproductive system of a woman includes the cervix. It is the narrow bottom section of the uterus, or womb, and it opens into the vaginal cavity. It is the opening that links the vagina with the uterus. Looking at the risk factors of cervical cancer, it applies an urgency in the adaptation of preventive methods.
Vaccination and screening programs play a pivotal role in mitigating the prevalence and impact of various diseases within a population. Know how it helps in cervical cancer:
For women between the ages of nine and twenty-six, vaccination is advisable as a crucial preventive strategy. The quantity of doses recommended for the vaccination depends on the patient’s age. Usually, two doses are sufficient for people under the age of 15, and three doses for people over 15 years of age. The dosage schedules for two popular vaccines on the market, Cervarix and Gardasil, vary. Cervarix has a course of action of 0, 1, and 6 months, whereas Gardasil has a timetable of 0, 2, and 6 months.
Another vital tool in reducing the risk factors of cervical cancer is routine screening. Start getting pap smears at age 21, and have them repeated every three years until you’re 65. The recommended period of long-term screening intervals is five years when pap smears and HPV tests are together, a practice known as co-testing. It is highly essential that women over 30 undergo co-testing. If a person has had healthy pap smears for the previous ten years and did not have any cases of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2 or CIN3) in the twenty years before that, screening programmes can be finished by the age of 65.
Dr. Swarnita Sahu, Research Fellow Radiation Oncology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, “In developing countries like India Cervical Cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in women. It is predisposed in women with poor socioeconomic status, women who have limited access to health care and are hence devoid of screening programs.“
For successful preventative methods, it is vital that one recognises the dangers associated with it. “The risk factors of cervical cancer include multiple sexual partners, early age at first intercourse, smoking, multiparity, infections (90% of the cases are related to Human Papilloma Virus ) history of STDs, smoking, immunosuppression and prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure.” says Dr. Sahu.
In broad terms, cervical cancer poses a grave risk to the health of society, especially among underdeveloped nations. In the early stages, it may be asymptomatic. Dr. Sahu underlines the value of vaccination and screening programmes. This is as an efficient means of prevention and early detection of cervical cancer symptoms. As a community, we have the power to decrease the occurrence of this cancer. As an initiative, boost the health of women by spreading knowledge. Furthermore, expanding access to healthcare, and putting these preventative actions into practice.
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