The number of women being diagnosed with Cervical cancer is on the rise world wide. This write up is intended to educate our readers on the causes and prevention of cervical cancer.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervix is the lowermost narrow part of the uterus. Like the name suggests, Cervical cancer affects the cervix.
Cervical cancer can strike early during the productive years of a woman’s life. Hence its best advised to know what it is and how it can be prevented.
What causes cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papilomavirus, HPV. HPV is spread via sexual contacts with someone who is already infected with it.
Though there are many types of HPV, cervical cancer is caused by one particular type. Some result in formation of genital warts or an infection. A genital wart can convert to cervical cancer is undetected.
Cervical cancer symptoms:
Symptoms and signs of cervical cancer are
- Unusual bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse
- Unusual bleeding in women post-menopause
- Discomfort or pain during intercourse
- Smelly and sticky vaginal discharge or blood stained discharge
- Pain in the pelvic region
Cervical cancer detection and treatment: Frequently asked questions
Pap Smear is the most effective way to find out any infection or cancer in the cervical area. Early detections increases the chances of effective treatment.
Regular pap smear tests are a must to detect cervical cancer at the early stage. It is advised that every woman should go for a pap smear test every year.
- What is Pap smear or pap smear test?
Pap Smear is a test done on a sample taken from woman’s vagina or smear. It checks for changes in cells of the vaginal area to detect any unusual growth that may develop into cancer.
- Which are the cervical cancer vaccine available in India?
There are two licensed vaccines available in India for cervical cancer.
One is Gardasil by Merck and other is Cervarix, marketed by Glaxo Smithkline. Both are known for their preventive effects against cervical Cancer. These vaccines release antibodies that can fight HPV and are easily available in the drug stores.
- How about the dosage and schedule of the vaccine?
The HPV vaccines are given in 3 doses over a period of 6 months.
With Gardasil the recommended dosage is total of three doses at 0, 2 and 6 months.With Cervarix, the three dosages are at 0, 1 and 6 months .
There are researches being done to find if this needs to have a booster dose repeated.
- When should you take these HPV vaccines?
Ideal age for these HPV vaccines as suggested is less than 26 years. However if not done this can be taken anytime.
My gynaecologist advised me to go for a dosage after my delivery. The vaccine is NOT recommended for use in pregnant women.
People already infected with the HPV virus, vaccination will only prevent further infection from HPV. It does not act as a cure for the infection.
- What is the cost of cervical cancer vaccines?
Currently each dose of these vaccines cost anywhere between 2500 to 3000 INR. However there have been talks to make these available at subsidized rates.
Hope this article gives you a brief insight of cervical cancer. Get yourself vaccinated today. Contact your ggynecologist to know more. Its better late than never.
I did my bit in protecting and taking care of myself with the cervical cancer vaccines. Did you? Share with me in comments.
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