Protecting from Cervical Cancer

  • January 28, 2016

PROTECTING WOMEN OF YOUR FAMILY FROM CERVICAL CANCER-NOW POSSIBLE

  • Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer affecting Indian women
  • It is a preventable disease
  • You can protect yourselves and your daughters and be almost 100% safe with a combination of vaccination and screening

    Normal:
  • Normal cells multiply all the time
  • Old cells die and fall off
  • New, completely formed, mature cells replace them
  • They take over the regular functionCancer…..normal gone berserk:
    » Normal mechanism can be disturbed by many factors (ex: virus, chemicals in Tobacco, repeated damage)
    » Cancer cells are abnormal cells which multiply too fast
    » Old cells refuse to die
    » New cells don’t mature but keep growing – become a bulk called “Tumour”
    » Cannot function normally and start competing with the normal cells
    » Can spread and grow anywhere else in the body and choke off the normal cells Normal mechanism can be disturbed by many factors (Ex : virus, chemicals in Tobacco, repeated damage)A virus
    HPV  -Human Papilloma Virus)HPV 16
    HPV 18
    >75% of Cervical Cancer5,6

    » Large number of women get HPV infection sometime during life time (80% by the age of 50).
    » There are no symptoms – you may not know you have it
    » Majority would clear infection without developing any disease.
    » Few women develop precancerous lesions and cervical cancer over a period of time (few months to 9 years).
    We don’t know which ones will!

    Cervical Cancer is the commonest cancer in Indian Women

    200 women die every day in India
    8 women die every hour
    1 woman every 7 minutes

    India makes up only 16% of the world’s population
    But has 27% of the world’s total cervical cancer cases and deaths every year

    India : 1,32,082
    World : 4,93,243
    Deaths due to cervical cancer annually
    India : 74,118
    World : 2,73,505

  • Usually no symptoms in early stage
  • When advanced, there can be the following symptoms:
    • A little bleeding between periods
    • Bleeding after sexual intercourse
    • Abnormal vaginal discharge
    • Sometimes – pain
      • During intercourse
      • Continuous
      • Low back-ache
  • Unexplained loss of weight
    Pail face and nails (anemia)
  • Treatment options depend on the following:
    • The stage of the cancer.
    • The size of the tumor.
    • Your age.
    • Your desire to have children.
  • Conservative treatment
    (save the uterus and part of the cervix)
  • Burn the abnormal part of cervix with electric current
    (electro-cautery)
  • Destroy the abnormal area by freezing it
    (cold co-agulation)
  • Surgery
    • Medium spread of cancer – remove uterus with cervix, tubes and ovary
      • Good chance of survival
      • Can’t have babies
  • Late Stage
    • Extensive surgery removing other parts of the body as well
    • Needs radiation therapy and chemotherapy
    • Chances of survival vary

How can you protect yourself?

A smooth, sterilized instrument is gently inserted to see the cervix

A small spatula or brush is swiped across the cervix to loosen cells
The brush is smeared on a clean glass slide
The slide is later examined by an expert to spot abnormal cells

What you should know about vaccination

  • Vaccination is the only true form of “prevention” – stops the disease from happening in the first place
  • There are two vaccines available today:
    • Quadrivalent (“four type”)
      • Protects from 6,11,16,18
      • Partial protection from 33, 35, 41 and 7 other types
  • Bivalent (“two type”)
    • Protects from 16, 18
  • Partial protection from 33, 35 and 41

How does the vaccine work?
It gets your body to produce antibodies against the HPV virus. These antibodies protect your body from an HPV infection by fighting the virus when it tries to attack the cervix.

Who should take the vaccine and when?
Ideally, the vaccine should be taken as early as possible after the age of 9 years but girls and women of any age up to 45 can benefit from this vaccine.  Expectant mothers should not take the vaccine during their pregnancy.

How does the vaccine work?
It gets your body to produce antibodies against the HPV virus. These antibodies protect your body from an HPV infection by fighting the virus when it tries to attack the cervix.

Who should take the vaccine and when?
Ideally, the vaccine should be taken as early as possible after the age of 9 years but girls and women of any age up to 45 can benefit from this vaccine.  Expectant mothers should not take the vaccine during their pregnancy.

 

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