Cervical cancer cases in India are increasing at an alarming rate, so much so this monster is known to take 200 lives of women in India, on a daily basis. Over 60,000 deaths have been accounted during the year 2015 itself. It is thus, one of the most common cancers in women in India alongside breast cancer.
FACTS ABOUT CERVICAL CANCER
Human Papolloma virus or HPV causes Cervical cancer. It usually effects women in the age group of 40-65, but 55-65 is the age group with highest associated risks. The virus is easily transmitted through skin to skin contact and not just sexually, which is a myth many of us believe in. In 90% of the cases, the immune system takes care of clearing the virus. The remaining 10% whose bodies are not able to create the antibodies needed to kill these invaders get affected by Cervical cancer. Also, no test is still available for knowing whether your body has the ability to create the antibodies required to defeat the cervical cancer virus or not. The rural areas bear the brunt more so due to failure in doing checkups and ignorance.
Well, it has been also found that women don’t really seem to be willing to take the vaccine available for cervical cancer. In India, its majorly because most of them don’t know about it or because of the cost factor. Well, the side effects also are a major concern for people with numerous myths surrounding the condition doing rounds, already. One such myth is infertility. Though, against the myth about the side effects of cervical cancer, lies the fact sheet of over 200 vaccinated cases that proves no serious long term side effects of the vaccine. Another fact being that over 65 countries have included this vaccine as a part of their health program already. The awareness levels are also less, even though there has been a lot of effort in the area for the past three decades.
TREATMENT & PREVENTION
As mentioned vaccines for cervical cancer are already available and as per experts one of this vaccines is 99% effective in prevention in young women. It’s the nonavalent, but it has yet to see the light of day in India. But, the bivalent and quadravalent vaccines are readily available and provide around 70% protection against the earlier mentioned nonavalent which offers 90%. The world health organization has recommended the vaccine for age groups of 9-13 years old girls due to its immunogenic ability at this age.
In a nutshell, cervical cancer is a deadly condition in women and India needs to have an action plan against it. Each one of us is responsible for our family and kids. So, go ahead and shield your girls against this deadly disease by vaccinating them early on. The HPV virus has the ability to stay in the body of a woman for a decade before it turns cancerous therefore it is advisable to do a pap smear test on a regular basis for detection of any symptoms, early on. For women not eligible for vaccination it is advisable to take up the Pap smear test after a certain age on a recommended basis.
RRMCH conducted Cervical Cancer awareness programs