I am Dr. Anu Sidana, Gynaecologist. Today I will talk about cervical cancer and its preventive measures. What is it? It arises from the mouth of the uterus i.e. cervix. Cancer is an abnormal growth of the cells. Worldwide this is the 4th most common cancer and in India, more than 72k women are dying because of cervical cancer. What are the early signs and symptoms of cervical cancer? The early patient may remain symptoms free but later on, the patient may represent with vaginal bleeding which is abnormal especially after intercourse. Then abdominal pain and pelvic pain. What are the main causes of cervical cancer? Cervical cancer is mainly caused by HPV and responsible for more than 90% of cervical cancers. All this happens because women are prone to get HPV. There are more than 15 types of HPV. Along with this, there are various receptors which may lead to cervical cancer like smoking, sexual activities ate early age, multiple sexual partners, low immune system and birth control pills.
Before the patient develops full-fledged cervical cancer, there are some precancerous lesions which over the period of 10-20 years develops cervical cancer. Here comes a roll of cervical cancer screening. What is it? It is detection as well as the treatment of precancerous lesions present on the cervix to decrease the chances of cervical cancer. There is a various method for screening which includes visual inspection of the cervix with various chemicals like acidic acid and any other ways. With the help of this, we can only screen normal and abnormal cervix. We do have a PAP test which is also known as a conventional method of testing. Next is the HPV DNA test. After testing, we send it to the lab. Along with this, we also examine the patient to rule out any other infection as well as any abnormal feature on the cervix which may suggest the patient is having a suspicios cervix. Now, when to start this screening?
Screening should be started once the patient is active for more than 3 years. If the test is negative then it has to be repeated every 3 years. If any abnormality is found then the management is done by further evaluation like colposcopy, cervical biopsy. Primary preventions are also available like vaccination. More than 15 types of viruses responsible for cervical cancer. We have vaccine only against 2 high-risk viruses. It has to be given between 9-26 years and can be given up to 45 years. They seem to be effective for 4-6 years. In the future, we are also going to get 9 cervical virus vaccination. But, it doesn't mean that you are vaccinated so, you are totally prevented because the rest of the virus still to be explored. So, even if you are vaccinated, still cervical cancer screening with the help of PAP smear is recommended every 3 years. Studies have shown that condoms have a preventive role to decrease the chances of cancer. So, the main purpose of these videos was to make you aware of cervical cancer and the various preventive measures available for it. So, be aware, be immune and be healthy.