Cervical cancer is a type of cancer developed in a woman's cervix (the opening between the vagina and the womb), the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
Most cervical cancer incidences are linked to infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), widespread through sexual contact. Although most such infections are cured soon, persistent infections can cause cervical cancer in women.
When exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV) , body's immune system usually prevents the virus from harming. In few people, however, the virus manages to survive for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to turn into cancer cells.
One can reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer by going for regular screening tests and receiving a vaccination that provides protection against HPV infection.
Cervical cancer is usually slow-growing, and its complexities depend on how huge it is if spread.
The symptoms are not always apparent, and they may not cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage.
Therefore it is essential to attend all cervical screening appointments. If cancer spreads out of the cervix, it can trigger many other symptoms, including unusual bleeding, unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge, swelling of one or both legs, and discomfort in the lower back or pelvis.
Signs and symptoms of more-advanced cervical cancer involves:
- Bleeding from the vagina after intercourse, between periods, or even after menopause
- Vaginal discharge that is watery and bloody that may be heavy and have a foul smell
- Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you happen to notice any signs or symptoms that concern you.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the reason behind about 91% of cervical cancers.
- There are more than 100 varied types of HPV existing, most of which are considered low-risk and do not turn into cervical cancer.
- More than 70% of cervical cancer medical cases can be attributed to two types of virus, HPV-16 and HPV-18 often called as high-risk HPV types.
- High-risk HPV types may turn into cervical cell abnormalities or cancer.
- Most of the women infected with HPV do not get cervical cancer.
- For most, the HPV infection is not long lasting; 90% of HPV infections resolve on their own within 2 years.
- Very few women do not clear the HPV virus and are considered to have "persistent infection”. Women with persistent HPV infection are at a greater risk of developing cervical cell abnormalities and cancer than those whose infection resolves independently.
- Certain types of this virus can transform normal cervical cells into abnormal ones. In a small number of cases and usually over a long period, some of these abnormal cells may develop into cervical cancer.
- There are varied types of treatment for patients with cervical cancer.
- Usually, the below types of standard treatment are used:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- However, new treatment types are in testing phases in clinical trials.
- Treatment for cervical cancer may result in side effects.
- Patients can join clinical trials either before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment.
- Follow-up tests may be required.
There are varied types of treatment for individuals with cervical cancer.
- Different types of treatment can be opted for different patients with cervical cancer.
- Some are standard treatments that are opted, and many are tested in clinical trials.
- A treatment clinical trial is a research study that is meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer.
- If the clinical trials show that a new treatment is better performing than the standard treatment, there are chances that the new treatment become the standard treatment.
- Patients may want to contemplate about taking part in a clinical trial.
- Some clinical trials are available only to patients who have not begun the treatment.
Eliminating Cervical Cancer
The burden of cervical cancer falls on the women who lack access to health services, mainly in low-and middle-income families. No woman should die from cervical cancer. The world now has the technical, medical, and policy tools and approaches to eliminate it.
We need to take a global call to eliminate cervical cancer by calling all stakeholders to unite behind this common goal targeting year 2030. A Global Strategy towards the Elimination of Cervical Cancer is the need of the hour for a step towards a cancer-free world.
- In India, cervical cancer accounts for over 9% of all cancers and over 18% of new cases in 2020.
- India ranks second among women's cancers.
- Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in low- and middle-income countries.
- 75 percent of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening
- Most of the cervical cancer women are under the age of 50 years
- It is recommended that women between ages 25 to 69 be screened for cervical cancer every three years.
PGC Resolution: To raise awareness and eliminate this cancer in the coming years. Screening and testing campaigns are to be conducted for early detection, treatment, and prevention of complications.