Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects women, primarily the age of having cervical cancer in during reproductive years. It’s a topic that deserves attention because early detection and prevention can be life-saving. In this blog, our expert and Senior Gynaecologist Dr. Anshika Lekhi, will delve into what cervical cancer is, its risk factors, common symptoms, and crucial preventive measures.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It often begins with abnormal cell changes in the cervix, which, if left untreated, can progress to cancer.
What causes cervical cancer?
1. HPV Infection: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. Practicing safe sex and getting the HPV vaccine can reduce this risk.
2. Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely to develop cervical cancer.
3. Weak Immune System: A compromised immune system, such as due to HIV infection, increases susceptibility.
4. Family History: A family history of cervical cancer may raise the risk.
Symptoms of cervical cancer?
1. Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding: This includes bleeding between periods, after sex, or post-menopause.
2. Pelvic Pain: Discomfort or pain during intercourse or other pelvic activities.
3. Vaginal Discharge: Unusual changes in vaginal discharge, such as it being foul-smelling or containing blood.
4. Back Pain or Leg Pain: In advanced cases, cervical cancer can cause back or leg pain.
How to prevent cervical cancer?
1. HPV Vaccination: This vaccine is ‘the cervical cancer vaccine’, it is highly effective in preventing the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
2. Regular Pap Tests: Regular screenings can detect abnormal cell changes early, allowing for timely treatment.
3. Safe Sex: Practicing safe sex, using condoms, and limiting sexual partners can reduce HPV exposure.
4. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting can lower your risk not only for cervical cancer but for various other health issues.
5. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can contribute to a stronger immune system.
Early Detection and Treatment:
Early detection through Pap tests can be a game-changer. If abnormal cell changes are detected, they can often be treated before cancer develops. Once cervical cancer is diagnosed, treatment options may include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the cancer.
Cervical cancer is a preventable and treatable disease when caught early. Regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, and vaccination against HPV can significantly reduce the risk. By raising awareness about cervical cancer and its prevention, we can take important steps toward a future where this cancer becomes increasingly rare.
Remember, if you have concerns about cervical cancer or its prevention, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and care.
Dr Anshika Lekhi
Senior Gynaecologist & IVF special
Director Thefertilife, Gurgaon