Health

Screening of women nearing menopause crucial for preventing Cervical cancer

Screening of women nearing menopause crucial for preventing Cervical cancer

Menopause induces many changes in a woman’s body, hence she needs special care so as to avoid sickness during this phase.

Cervical Cancer is one such disease, possibility of which increases during menopause. Here prevention becomes of utmost importance.

As per renowned Gynaecologist Dr Ashe Sahai, women who are nearing menopause should be regularly screened so as to lower the cases of cervical cancer.

While speaking at an ASSOCHAM organised webinar “Empowering Preventive Healthcare for Women: Series on Prevention of Cervical Cancer”, she said that Cervical cancer can be prevented by PAP smear screening and an HPV vaccine.

She pointed out that tobacco (smoking and chewing) and alcohol are the major risk factors for
Cervical Cancer.

She pointed out that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the driver in the increase in incidences of this disease.

Dr Sahai listed that the symptoms of the disease include bleeding in between periods and after sexual intercourse, foul-smelling white discharge, low back pain or lower abdominal pain may also occur.

“In some cases, there may be no symptoms like in my case,” she said, as she herself is a cervical cancer survivor.

According to World Health Organisation, 110 countries have introduced HPV into their national routine immunization schedules, with 10 more countries planning to introduce this by the end of 2021.

Systematic reviews attribute low rates of HPV vaccination coverage to a multitude of factors, such as limited parental knowledge and awareness of the HPV vaccine, lack of a provider recommendation, and concerns about the side effects and efficacy of the vaccine.

As per Dr Partha Basu, Dty Head, Early Detection, Prevention & Infection Branch at International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization, “Sexually naive girls, and girls between the ages of nine and 15 years should be vaccinated against HPV to lower the cases of Cervical Cancer.”

Dr Basu said that in India there exists a lack of awareness as many have not even heard the name of this vaccine.

Knowledge regarding cervical cancer is scarce and very few know that it is a preventable disease, he said. “Even the ones, who have cervical cancer and know it is preventable, don’t want to go for treatment, so we lose many in the treatment cycle. HPV vaccination in a country like India is one of the most important things that we can do to address the issue.”

There is a need to create awareness on the subject so one fine day cervical cancer can be fully eradicated.

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