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Home News and Update Year 2011 'Cervical Vaccine for Girls Could Save Lives'

'Cervical Vaccine for Girls Could Save Lives'

DNA India
16 March 2011
By Soumita Majumdar
Pune, India

The one cancer that has practically been wiped out in the Westis cervical cancer. However, India continues to contribute as much as 18% to 24% to the global figure of the cases diagnosed every year. Since high awareness and early diagnosis prove to be life–savers for cancer, Dr Mahesh B, surgical oncologist, HCG, speaks to Soumita DNA these and various other aspects of this disease.

What is the incidence rate of cervical cancer in India and globally? Is the disease on the rise or well controlled?
More than 1,30,000 new cases – roughly one–fourth of the global total – are reported in the country every year. In addition, an estimated 74,000 Indian women die annually from the disease, which results from the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix.

This is a cancer that has been practically wiped out in the West, while India continues to contribute as much as 18% 24% to the total global figure cases diagnosed each year.

What are the latest developments in the treatment of cervical cancer?
The latest developments include advancements in chem–radiation protocols, advanced laparoscopic surgeries and cervical vaccines for prevention.

Which is the age group that gets affected by cervical cancer? Are younger women affected too, like in case of breast cancer? If yes, why?
Cervical cancer is most common among women who are 35 years and older. Younger women who get sexually active early are at higher risk.

What causes cervical cancer?
The main underlying cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted and largely symptomless infection for which there is no cure. Many young people contract HPV, but the infection may remain stable or become undetectable. Several other factors may decide whether women with abnormal cervical cell changes will develop cancer. These factors include young age at first childbirth, having many children, use of tobacco, prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives, and an impaired immune system, particularly related to HIV infection.

What are the preventive measures that you would suggest to women?
Keeping good personal hygiene is important. Women are advised to avoid early unprotected sexual activity. Also, avoid sexual promiscuity (multiple sex partners for both husband and wife). Besides, regular gynaecological checkups, pap smear and colposcopy after a woman becomes sexually active, can lead to an early diagnosis. Now, administration of cervical vaccine to young females in the age group of nine to 26 (before first intercourse) can be a protective measure.

As far as diet is concerned, intake of healthy, non–fatty food with more green leafy vegetables and fruits is advisable.

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