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Business News/ Science / Health/  Cervical Cancer: Are you at risk? Symptoms and 6 other important facts about the sexually transmitted disease
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Cervical Cancer: Are you at risk? Symptoms and 6 other important facts about the sexually transmitted disease

The government announced plans to encourage vaccination for girls in the 9-14 age group to prevent cervical cancer

India accounts for the highest number of cervical cancer cases in Asia. Premium
India accounts for the highest number of cervical cancer cases in Asia.

Actor and model Poonam Pandey passed away on Friday at the age of 32 due to cervical cancer, her media manager confirmed, as reported by ANI

Poonam Pandey's official Instagram post read, "This morning is a tough one for us. Deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer. Every living form that ever came in contact with her was met with pure love and kindness. In this time of grief, we would request for privacy while we remember her fondly for all that we shared."

Sadly the news came only a day after the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the interim budget, said that the government will encourage vaccination for girls in the 9-14 year age group for the prevention of cervical cancer. The Centre announced last year that an India-made quadrivalent vaccine might be evaluated for inclusion in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) as a twin-dose regimen for adolescent girls.

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer, ranked as the fourth most common cancer in women by the World Health Organization (WHO), stems from abnormal cell growth in the cervix. 

In 2020 alone, approximately 604,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide, resulting in about 342,000 deaths. Detectable at early stages, cervical cancer is highly treatable. 

How can you get infected? 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause, responsible for 99% of cases. A sexually transmitted infection, which affects one's throat, genitals, and skin, often shows no symptoms. While the immune system typically clears the virus, persistent infections may lead to abnormal cell growth, progressing to cancer. 

The transformation from abnormal cells to cancerous ones usually spans 15-20 years, but in women with weakened immune systems, this process can expedite to 5-10 years. 

Who is at risk of Cervical Cancer?

Young mothers, hormonal contraceptive users, smokers and those other sexually transmitted infections are at a high risk of developing cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

  • Unusual bleeding between periods, after menopause, or after sexual intercourse
  • Increased or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Persistent pain in the back, legs, or pelvis
  • Weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Swelling in the legs

How can Cervical Cancer be detected, prevented and treated? 

Regular screenings and HPV vaccinations contribute significantly to prevention and early detection.

Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as well as secondary care for pain management.

 

 

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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 03:23 PM IST
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