The only cancer that can be prevented by vaccination!

The only cancer that can be prevented by vaccination!
September 13 05:15 2023 by admin Print This Article

Cervical cancer is the only cancer that can be prevented by vaccination, and 95% recovery is possible if detected in the early stages. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, so let us try to understand completely about cervical cancer, right from the causes to treatment options.

1. Cervical Cancer…which part of the body does it affect?

The bottom part of the uterus, which is the mouth of the uterus, is called cervix, and cervical cancer affects the cervix.

2. The women of which country are affected the most?

This cancer is more commonly found among women in developing and under-developed countries. In such countries, facilities for diagnosis of cervical cancer are less and hence the awareness too.

3. What is the age at which this cancer is onset?

This occurs mostly in women aged 30-45, and post-marriage.

4. This is said to be caused by a virus…is that true?

Yes this is true, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is 95% responsible for causing cervical cancer. The virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse and if left undiagnosed leads to cervical cancer.

If Virus is the reason, can it be transmitted to the husband as well?

The cancer does not spread, however the virus causing the cancer can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. So a husband can contract the virus from his wife, and it appears as a wart on his genital organ, and is known as genital wart. Painful red patches and sores can also appear on the male genital organ, which could lead to cancer, if ignored.

5. Can cervical cancer be detected at the pre-cancer stage?

Definitely! Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) indicates the pre-cancer stage. There are three stages CIN 1, CIN 2 and CIN 3. In the first stage, one-third of the cervical epithelial cells are affected. In the second stage, two-thirds of the cervical epithelial cells are affected. In the third stage, more than two-thirds are affected, and this is the pre-cancer stage. If diagnosed at this stage, the uterus can be removed surgically and chances of healing are high.

6. What are the ways to prevent cervical cancer?

The genital organs must be kept clean, and have sexual intercourse with only one partner. Consult a doctor immediately if there is any unusual white discharge.

7. What are the symptoms of early-stage cancer?

  • Foul-smelling, excessive white discharge necessitating the use of napkins, some women experience slight bleeding as well.
  • Weight loss
  • Unable to eat properly, leading to weakness
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse

8. Is it hereditary, and passed on from one generation to the next?

Yes, chances of a woman getting it are more if her mother or sister have had cervical cancer.

9. What are the tests to diagnose cervical cancer, and are they expensive?

Screening tests must be done for diagnosis. All married women can undergo this screening, just like the master health check-up. Now we have a test known as HPV DNA, to determine the presence of HPV viral infection. Speculum examination can help diagnose cervical sores. Pap smear test or Liquid based cytology tests can be done with cervix tissues. These are tests for early diagnosis.

If symptoms point to cervical cancer, colposcopy test is done, where a camera is used to examine the cervix. Then acetic acid is applied to the area, which makes the abnormal cells appear white. Tissues from this area are then removed for testing, and this is called cervical biopsy.

Pap smear tests cost between Rs. 300-1500 depending on the laboratory, and most of the time this is enough to determine cervical cancer. Colposcopy costs between Rs. 8000-15000.

10. Does cervical cancer affect younger women? And those women who have been completely treated and are well, can they bear children?

It is rare for women under the age of 20 to get cervical cancer. In case this happens before child-birth, cervical tissues may get damaged due to radio therapy and chemo therapy. Therefore the ovum must be collected before the treatment can begin. It is also important to remember that the uterus may need to be removed during the treatment.

11. Do cervical cancer treatments cause side-effects?

  • Side effects may occur due to surgery and anasthesia
  • Chemotherapy may cause side-effects such as vomiting, nausea, loss of taste, loss of hunger, tiredness, weight loss, hair fall, depression and insomnia
  • Radio therapy may cause bone density to reduce and may weaken the bones. The ovary may get damaged
  • Regardless of the above side-effects, early diagnosis and subsequent treatment can help in 95% recovery of the patient, and increase their longevity, which is a benefit of the treatment.

12. Does removal of uterus mean that one cannot be affected by cervical cancer ever again?

Mostly yes, however even if one cancer cell remains in the body, there are chances of recurring, however the possibility of this happening is only 15%

P. Sathya Sudhakar. MBBS DGO DRM (Germany)
Kauvery Hospital, Salem

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – Alwarpet/Vadapalani 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801





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