New Delhi: Every eight minutes, one woman in India succumbs to cervical cancer. Around 1.2 lakh women are affected by cervical cancer in India and the country accounts for around 25% of global deaths due to it.
"Mirroring the state of the disease nationwide, cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in the national capital, accounting for 10.8% of all cancer cases in Delhi women," said Dr. Dinesh Chandra Katiyar, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncologist, Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka.
While the causes of cervical cancer are still debated in the medical community, it is most commonly caused by HPV virus (human papillomavirus), with smoking cigarettes and sexual activity being considered as important factors.
The incidence of cervical cancer has also been observed to increase sharply with age; however, it is increasingly affecting women of 25 to 64 years of age.
"Despite the best medical facilities available in the capital of the country, we tend to overlook the symptoms. As sexual activity is considered an important factor related to its spread, there is considerable stigma attached with it. It is good we have vaccination against cervical cancer. The prevalence of cervical cancer can be significantly reduced if girls entering teenage are vaccinated early. Vaccine works better on a child and yields effective results. When an adult gets vaccinated, it needs to be done through multiple shots while a child can be immunized with two shots," said Katiyar.
Cervical cancer has some typical symptoms, which should ring alarm bells among patients. There is an increase in vaginal discharge or sudden loss of weight. The chronic back pain despite a healthy lifestyle is also one of the indicators.
"If there is inconsistency in the menstrual cycles or bloody and foul smelling discharge, you should immediately consult a doctor," he added.
There are high chances of curing the disease if it is diagnosed early. For diagnosing cervical cancer, pelvic examination is conducted, which includes a PAP-test. The test shows any abnormal change in the cells drawn from the patient's cervix. Tissue biopsy is also done to confirm whether the condition is cancerous.