Cervical Cancer Among Indian Women A Matter Of Grim Concern

Causes, Symptoms, How To Minimize Risks

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Cervical Cancer Among Indian Women A Matter Of Grim Concern

Heaven Mail National Bureau

Cervical cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

It is becoming a growing health concern among Indian women.

Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer.

When exposed to HPV, the body’s immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.

How To Minimize Risk

One can minimize the risk of developing cervical cancer by having regular screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.

Symptoms

Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms. The signs and symptoms of more-advanced cervical cancer include:

* Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause

* Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor

* Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse.

Causes

Cervical cancer begins when healthy cells in the cervix develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do.

Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time. The mutations tell the cells to grow and multiply out of control, and they don’t die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor). Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can break off from a tumor to spread (metastasize) elsewhere in the body.

It isn’t clear what causes cervical cancer, but it’s certain that HPV plays a role. HPV is very common, and most people with the virus never develop cancer. This means other factors — such as your environment or your lifestyle choices — also determine whether you’ll develop cervical cancer.

Rising Incidence In India

Cervical cancer is rising in India. As a matter of fact, India accounts for the highest number of cervical cancer cases in Asia, followed by China, according to a latest Lancet study on the disease. The research revealed that out of the 40% of the total deaths from cervical cancer, 23% occurred in India, and 17% in China.

There were around 6,04,127 new cases of cervical cancer and 3,41,831 deaths occurred in 2020 globally. Of these, India reported around 21% of the total cervical cases, as per the data.

The study is based on The Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN) 2020 estimates, including geographical and socioeconomic development, and temporal aspects.

More than 58% of all cases of cervical cancer globally were estimated in Asia followed by Africa (20%), Europe (10%) and Latin America (10%) and more than half of deaths were estimated in Asia (58%) followed by Africa (22%), and Latin America (9%). Around 39% of all cases occurred in China (18%) and India (21%) and 40% of total deaths from cervical cancer (17% in China; 23% in India),” the study noted.

It further stated that the age-standardized incidence of cervical cancer in 2020 was higher than the threshold set by WHO’s Cervical Cancer Elimination Initiative in 173 of 185 countries.

Fourth Most Common Cancer Among Women

All over the world, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women, with an estimated 6,04,000 new cases and 3,42,000 deaths in 2020, of which the Region accounted for 32% and 34%, respectively.

What May Cause Higher Risk

Many sexual partners. The greater your number of sexual partners — and the greater your partner’s number of sexual partners — the greater your chance of acquiring HPV.

Early sexual activity. Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.

Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs — such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS — increases your risk of HPV.

A weakened immune system. You may be more likely to develop cervical cancer if your immune system is weakened by another health condition and you have HPV.

Smoking. Smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.

More than 6,00,000 new cases of cervical cancer and more than 3,40,000 deaths from the disease were reported around the world in 2020, according to an observational study published in The Lancet Global Health journal. India reported 1,23,907 new cases of cervical cancer and 77,348 deaths, according to the study. Though the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased in many parts of the world —notably in Latin America, Asia, Western Europe, and North America — over the past three decades, the burden remains high in many low- and middle-income countries.

The cervical cancer cases in India and the world are a matter of major concern. The health experts should ponder over means to create more awareness to prevent such large incidence of the cervical cancer cases. Women too should take their health seriously and do often health screening tests.

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