Internet sensation, model and actor Poonam Pandey died at age 32 of cervical cancer. The news comes just a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about cervical cancer in the interim budget. Sitharaman announced the initiative taken by the Centre to promote cervical cancer vaccination among girls aged 9 to 14.
Here are some facts about cervical cancer you need to know
Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting women worldwide. It occurs when abnormal cells start growing in the lining of the cervix. A lot of times, cervical cancer develops due to HPV.
Cervical cancer is actually preventable. Getting vaccinated for HPV is a way to prevent cancer. However, the timing of the vaccine is important-- one should take an HPV vaccine before being sexually active. Another way to prevent HPV is to use condoms The ideal age to get vaccinated would be between 9 and 15 years. If caught early, cervical cancer is curable too.
As per data from the HPV Information Centre, India faces a considerable risk of cervical cancer-- India has a population of 511.4 million women aged 15 years and older.
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are vaginal bleeding after sex vaginal bleeding after menopause, vaginal bleeding between periods or periods that are heavier or longer than normal, vaginal discharge that is watery and has a strong odour or that contains blood and pelvic pain or pain during sex.
Getting a pap smear is one of the most common ways to detect cancer early on. It is recommended that women above 21 get a pap smear every three years and women between ages 30 to 65 get a pap smear every three years and a high-risk HPV (hrHPV) test every five years.
Cancer risk factors include obesity, smoking, three full-term pregnancies, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, taking birth control pills, chlamydia, HIV and being younger than 17 during the first pregnancy.