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Cancer Cervix, a viral truth

Cancer Cervix, a viral truth

Cancer cervix is the leading cancer in Indian women and the second most common worldwide. The precancerous changes start early, usually in the twenties, once the women is sexually active and if undetected and untreated  may turn into a full blown cancer by the time the woman is in her fifties.Ironically, there are several good things about this cancer.Ø  It is a preventable cancer.Ø  A known etiology, a virus called HPV ( Human Papilloma Virus)Ø  A known mode of spread i.e sexually transmittedØ  A very good and inexpensive screening test called PAP smear which identifies it several years ahead at a precancerous stage making it amenable to prevention and early treatment with good prognosis.Ø  An effective vaccineØSTIs are a rising concern, with long term consequences. HIV is just the tip of iceberg.The high risk factors are those with-        Multiple sex partners-        Early initiation of sexual activity-        Poor knowledge of contraception-        Hesitation in using barrier method by male partners-        Low socio-economic status with poor access to health care services, including Pap tests-        Prostitutes, prison inmates,  drug addicts, those attending STI clinics-        Smoking, low immunity status like HIV, use of birth control pills for > 5 years, being younger than 17 at the time of first delivery, multiparity i.e having 3 or more children.Yet despite the familiarity with the disease, it continues to flourish especially in developing countries. Most of those who suffered rarely made to the hospital in time. Educated women, even doctors hardly turne up for their PAP smear in time. An effective vaccine lies underutilised because of unawareness and sometimes non affordability. To be continued................

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