Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer that affects women. Cervix is the narrow opening at the lower section of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
Cervical cancer mainly develops at the age of 35-55 years. In India, every 8 minutes one woman dies of cervical cancer. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection is the most common among all other risk factors which includes an immune system deficiency, smoking, having many children and an exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). DES is one of the chemical substances that interfere with the endocrine system to cause cancer. The daughters of women who used DES during pregnancy have a higher risk of cervical cancer.
Two major types of cancer affects the cervix and includes squamous cell cancer and an adenocarcinoma. Most cervical cancers in developing countries are discovered at late stage when they have spread beyond the cervix and carries a poor prognosis. At this stage the symptoms include vaginal discharge, unusual bleeding and discomfort or pain during sex. In an early stage of this cancer, it does not cause any symptoms except blood stained spotting during sexual intercourse.
Cervical cancer screening is simple to do and the best method to detect the abnormal cells on the cervix, early detection provides excellent cure. Although there are several methods to treat cancer but prevention strategies through HPV vaccination is the most important and 80% of these cancers can be prevented by vaccinating young girls.