SHEROES #InstaConnect Busting Myths Around Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer is the leading cause of death among Indian women. The irony is, it’s a preventable disease. Yet, in India it affects 1,32,000 women each year of whom 72,000 women lose their battle with it, according to the Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition.
SHEROES had organized a live chat this Wednesday on 18th Jan with Team CAPED on its connect forum. CAPED stands for Cancer Awareness, Prevention and Early Detection. The organisation has decided to take on the cause of women related cancers with focus on Cervical Cancer to start with.
We have curated the most handy and useful information from the conversation's thread for you.
Are there any symptoms for detecting Cervical Cancer?
“Unfortunately there are no clear cut symptoms. General symptoms such as irregular periods, bleeding in-between periods or after intercourse, abnormal pain during sex or periods could be symptoms of cervical cancer.”
How do you get tested for Cervical Cancer?
“There is a very simple preventive measure for cervical cancer. Screening. Get a Pap smear done once every 3 years and if it's clear-you're clear :) A Pap smear will be done by a gynaecologist. It is a simple cervix swab and is completely painless. It can only be done for women who are sexually active. A Pap smear is done once in 3 years. If you get a Pap smear HPV DNA test done, it is once in 5 yrs.”
Does late menopause increase the probability of Cervical Cancer?
“A late menopause in no way increases the risk of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease, caused by a virus. Multiple sexual partners and multiple pregnancies can increase risk of cervical cancer. If you have irregular periods or a random pattern of periods, please get it checked. Not necessarily cervical cancer but it can be a symptom of any kind of infection. Multiple pregnancies reduce immunity in women. They weaken the system and make it more susceptible to infections.”
At what age could the vaccination be registered?
“The vaccination is cleared by the FDA for ladies from the age of 11 to 45 years. In India, doctors recommend it for girls from the age of 13. A sexually active woman can also take the vaccine but she will need to have the pap smear done regularly anyway. Consult your gynaecologist and discuss it with her before making a decision on the vaccination.”
What are the vaccinations available in the market?
“There are two vaccination in the market ; Gardasil and Cervarix. They need to be taken in 3 doses over a period of 6 months and cost close to INR 6,000/- for the entire dose. It is a preventive vaccination just like polio or DPT and as mentioned earlier, is administered to girls from the age of 13yrs on as they have good anti-body production at that age. Pregnant women should avoid taking the vaccine and women with allergic reactions to some drugs should talk to their doctor before taking the vaccine.”
What is the criteria to get the Pap smear test done?
“The Pap really is not recommended for women who are not sexually active. It is a swab of the cervix- the mouth of the uterus. To know if the woman is sexually active is a basic information for the test to be conducted else it would cause damage to the person. Women need the Pap smear 3 years after beginning sexual activity. Only vaccination is recommended for ladies who are not yet sexually active.”
We hope this information was helpful. Stay aware and vaccinated!