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Facts on Cervical Cancer and treatment options


Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among women, globally and is the primary cause of cancer-related deaths in developing countries. Globally, over 5 lakh women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually of which 1 lakh are from India.

There is a wide variation in incidence with urban population accounting for 40% and rural population accounting for 60% of cases. Middle-aged women, especially from lower socioeconomic status, are more prone to this.  While mortality from cervical cancer has decreased by 75% in developed countries over the last 5 decades, it is not the same case in India, due to the lack of effective screening.

Risk factors:

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, Immune system deficiency: Women with lowered immune systems have a higher risk of developing
cervical cancer.

Herpes: Women who have
genital herpes have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.

Smoking: Women who smoke
are about twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as women who do not smoke.

Age: People younger than 20
years old rarely develop cervical cancer. The risk goes up between the late
teens and mid-30s. Women past this age group remain at risk and need to have
regular cervical cancer screenings, which include a Pap test and/or
an HPV test.


Socioeconomic factors: Cervical
cancer is more common among groups of women who are less likely to have access
to screening for cervical cancer.

Exposure to diethylstilboestrol
Women whose mothers were given this drug during pregnancy to
prevent miscarriage have an increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer
of the cervix or vagina.


are 2 kinds of prevention, Primary and secondary prevention.

Primary prevention:  Identifying the early-stage cancers which prevent the progress of the disease. Pap smear and HPV testing are two methods for screening.

 Screening: All women from 21-65 years age are recommended to undergo an office-based test called Pap smear every 3 years or Co-testing with pap smear + HPV test every 5 years.  For women more than 65 years no screening is recommended if she was hysterectomised previously or had no CIN 2/3 lesion previously.

Secondary prevention: Preventing the development of pre-cancers, HPV vaccination, avoidance of smoking,  avoidance of multiple sex partners and use of a condom.

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