cervical cancer

Screening and Prevention of Cervical Cancer

Dr. Kapil Kumar
05 Sep 2018
 4.51 Vote(s)
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Cervical cancer screening involves testing a woman for the presence of cervical cancer before she shows up any symptoms. Tests like Pap smear, HPV test and Colposcopy procedures are utilized in the cervical cancer screening. Prevention of cervical cancer can come in the form of protected sex, maintaining good health, regular screening and getting vaccinated.

Despite being a prominent reason behind cancer deaths in women all over the world, cervical cancer is slow-growing cancer that can be prevented well-in time with adequate knowledge and action. There are various ways with which cervical cancer can be prevented with vaccination being the most effective and trusted one. Other ways to steer clear of cervical cancer are by following proper precautions such as performing intercourse with adequate protection to prevent the spread of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, maintaining good health and following a regular exercise regime, avoiding smoking and undergoing timely screening.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical Cancer is cancer in the cells of the cervix. Cervix is present in the lower part of the uterus which plays a crucial role in the reproductive system of women as it connects uterus to the vagina. It is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in the women. In cervical cancer, the cells of the cervix start growing in an uncontrollable manner with high chances of spreading across the other parts of the body including lungs, bladder, liver, rectum and vagina.

HPV infection is usually present in most of the sexually active people without their knowledge. It is cleared off by the body following its own defense mechanism. The problem arises once the body fails to get rid of the infection on its own which leads to the development of cancer.

Cervical cancer grows at a slower pace, which can provide adequate time for its detection and treatment. Timely screening can reveal precancerous changes happening in the cervix cells. Noticeably, women that are detected with precancerous changes are in their younger years of the 20s and 30s while the average age is considered to be of mid-50s when most women are detected with cervical cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

The onset of cervical cancer is marked by the onset of certain signs that can be easily read over a period of time such as:

  • Increased bleeding during menses
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding during intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Unexplained pain in the lower back or pelvic region

symptoms of cervical cancer

 Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer has got unique causes which every woman needs to know so that the prevention of the same can be done at the right point of time. HPV infection is the main cause of cervical cancer in women. HPV infection is the most common type of disorder which spreads through intercourse. When talking about the occurrence of cervical cancer, high-risk types of HPV infection usually cause cervical cancer in women.

Types of Cervical Cancer

There are mainly 3 types of cervical cancer:

1- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common types of cervical cancer. It develops in the region of the joining of endocervix and exocervix.

2. Adenocarcinomas: This type of cervical cancer develop from the gland cells present in the endocervix which produce mucus.

3. Adenosquamous carcinomas: This is the mixed types of cervical cancer. It possesses the features of both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas.

What is Cervical Cancer Screening?

Screening involves regular checking before there any symptoms of cancer appear in the body. Cervical Cancer Screening is one of the most crucial parts of diagnosing and treating cervical cancer. When an individual undergoes screening at the right time, then there are high chances that the cervical cancer is treated in the best ways resulting in better survival rate. Cervical Cancer Screening mainly involves following important tests:

  • Pap smear: Pap smear test is also known as Smear Test. It is one of the most recommended tests which women are advised to undergo to detect the presence of female related disorders and cancerous conditions in the cervix. It is very useful in detecting cervical cancer in women. The cells of the cervix of a woman are viewed under the microscope for finding out the abnormalities present in the cells of the lining of the cervix.
  • HPV test: HPV test is performed in the women to find out if there is a presence of HPV infection in the woman. This helps in finding out whether the Human Papilloma Virus has affected the woman. This test is recommended to be taken during the days when the woman does not have periods. It can be combined with Pap smear to make the correct diagnosis.
  • Colposcopy: Along with the above two tests, the colposcopy procedure is also performed. A magnifying lens which is known as colposcope is used here. A liquid is applied in the cervix which helps in finding out if any there are any abnormal events happening in the cervix. The total time taken for the procedure to get completed is around 15 minutes.

What does Cervical Cancer Prevention involve?

Cervical Cancer is one of the most preventable cancers across the world. If the right precautions are taken, then cervical cancer prevention is absolutely possible.

  • Get HPV vaccination: It is preferable to get vaccinated before you are sexually active and at a younger age. Younger age is counted as ideal for HPV vaccination as it results in a stronger immunity when compared to later stages.
  • Use protection during intercourse: As you already know that the most common cause of cervical cancer is HPV infection, therefore it is essential that you prevent the spread of HPV infection with use of condoms during sexual intercourse. It may not give complete protection but can help you reduce the risk of contraction along with the protection from other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Maintain good health: You need to pick up a healthy routine which comprises of a healthy diet and regular exercise. This will help you to keep an optimum level of fitness for good health. Also, keeping weight under control and managing stress form an extensive part of preventing cancer.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking has a negative impact on the health of the body as it weakens immunity.  Therefore, you need to avoid smoking if you want your immunity to stay strong to ward off HPV infection.
  • Regular screening: This is one of the most important parts of cervical cancer prevention regime. Once a woman turns 25 years, it is essential that she opts for regular screening tests at least twice every year to make sure that the presence of HPV infection is found out on time and put on monitoring before it starts turning into cervical cancer.

Thus, cervical cancer screening and prevention are the two important aspects of controlling cervical cancer in women. As it is said that prevention is better than cure, getting screened for cervical cancer and following correct preventive measures will act in your favor because the survival rates are up to 91% with a timely detection.


Dr. Kapil Kumar

About the Author

Surgical Oncologist
Dr. Kapil Kumar is an Oncologist and cancer specialist practicing at BLK Hospital in Rajendra Place, Delhi. He specializes in Breast cancer, Oncoplastic surgery, Upper G.I. Onco surgery, Pancreatic Biliary surgery, and Thoracic surgery including Esophagus cancer. He has completed his MBBS from Amritsar Government Medical College and Hospital. Further, he pursued MS from Amritsar Government Medical College and Hospital. Dr. Kapil is a member of Indian Society of Oncology (I.S.O.) and International Society of Diseases of Esophagus. He is also a member of Delhi Medical Association (D.M.A.). He got Dhanvantari award from Cholay 1 Foundation for Onco- Surgery work. He has worked in various hospitals as Senior Consultant Oncologist. Dr. Kapil has an experience of more than two and a half decade in this field. BLK Hospital is JCI, NABH and NABL accredited. It is one of the most successful and largest private sector hospitals situated in Delhi. Book appointment with Dr. Kapil Kumar at Elacancer.com.
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    Sourabh Rabindran
    Sept. 5, 2018, 6:18 p.m.
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