Friday, 10 October 2014

Regular Pap test helps prevent up to 90% of most common cervical cancers

Globally, Cervical Cancer is diagnosed in more than 5,00,000 women every year and is the cause of over 70,000 deaths in India alone

India contributes to around 20-30% of the global burden; but awareness about prevention and screening remains miserably low

Noida, 8 October, 2014: The second most widespread cancer in women, cervical cancer claims as many as 70,000 lives in India. Yet, awareness remains abysmally low regarding the concept of regular cervical screening with a pap test -- that can prevent up to 90 per cent of the most common types of cancers.

Cervical cancer is a cancer of the cervix – the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Around the world, cervical cancer influences women of all ages with as many as 5,00,000 cases diagnosed with the disease.

In India, cervical cancer is the most common women’s cancer. However, it is also the only type of cancer that can be prevented with regular screenings and checks.

“Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow unmanageable. Its occurrence increases when one reaches 35 years of age reaching a peak between the age group of 55-64 years. The ailment can often be successfully treated when it is noticed early and can be detected early on through a Pap test (papanicolau test),” says Dr. Prerna Arora, MD (Pathology), DNB (Pathology) at Jaypee Hospital.

A Pap smear is a simple, quick, and relatively painless screening test and takes only a few minutes. A Pap test can detect changes in cervical cells even before they turn into cancer. If you treat these cell changes, you may prevent cervical cancer. No drugs or anesthetics are required and it can be done by a general practitioner, nurse or women's health worker.

However, despite being preventable in a large number of cases, cervical cancer continues to claim thousands of lives. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer. The only way to detect early changes is by having a Pap smear test done.

“In India, an organized mass-screening program with Pap smear for early detection of cervical cancer is not the norm. There is an urgent need for initiation of community screening and educational awareness events for the control and prevention of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening is recommended every three years for all women starting at the age of 21, who are or ever have been sexually active,” Dr. Prerna Arora added.

At the same time, if you have any abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as intermittent bleeding, bleeding after sex or after menopause), abnormal or persistent vaginal discharge (bloody or offensive), or pelvic pain, you must see your general practitioner.

The Pap Smear Test remains highly effective. When done regularly i.e. after every two years or so, Pap test can help prevent up to 90% of the most common type of cervical cancers.

“One of the causes of cervical cancer is also because women in developing countries are more likely to have large families. Having your first baby early, before 17, also doubles up the risk, compared to having your first baby at 25 or older. Human papilloma virus infection, which is sexually acquired infection, also increases the risk many fold,” she further added.

The Jaypee Hospital, Noida - a 1200 bedded tertiary care multi-super-specialty facility and the flagship hospital of the Jaypee Group is shortly getting commissioned with 525 beds in the first phase. It has been built across a sprawling twenty-five acre campus, which is easily accessible from Delhi, Noida and the Yamuna Expressway; and its plan, design and construction of this hospital would position it amongst very few LEED certified hospital buildings in India.

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