The 32-year-old actress and model Poonam Pandey died on Friday after a courageous battle with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy among women in India, accounting for 10% of all cases.
It is the eighth most common cancer globally, with 6,61,044 new cases and 3,48,186 deaths reported in the previous year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
What is cervical cancer?
The cervical aperture, where the uterus (womb) joins the vagina, is a potential site for cancer to form. Prior to the development of cervical cancer, a condition known as cell dysplasia sets place, during which abnormal cells multiply and spread both inside and outside of the cervix.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection occurs when a person has sexual relations with an infected individual. The immune system may sometimes clear an infection, but the risk of cervical cancer rises when infected with the two most harmful strains of the virus, HPV 16 and HPV 18.
The family HPV has around 200 distinct viruses. At least once in their lives, almost everyone who participates in sexual activity develops HPV, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While most human papillomavirus infections do not cause cancer, some of these infections may be particularly long-lasting.
The early stages of cervical cancer, say specialists, aren’t always simple to see.
As the infection advances, however, symptoms such as abnormal cell development, abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as post-menopausal bleeding, bleeding between cycles, etc.), pelvic pain (especially during intercourse), and vaginal discharge that is watery or stinky become noticeable.
What are the ways to identify cervical cancer?
A simple pap test may identify cervical cancer. Not only that, but this test has the ability to detect abnormal cells that might turn into cancer.
The recommended starting age for cervical cancer screenings is 21–29 years old, with further tests every three to five years as needed.
Can cervical cancer be avoided in any way?
Thankfully, there are ways to both prevent and treat cervical cancer. Optimal management and therapy rely on early identification.
The best way to prevent cervical cancer, however, is to get a vaccine.The use of safe and effective vaccines against HPV is crucial in preventing the development of this cancer. Cervavac was released in January 2023 as the first HPV vaccine in India. Specifically, it seeks to eradicate four distinct types of HPV infections.
Methodology for the Treatment of Cervical Cancer
Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are some of the many approaches used to cure cervical cancer, according to the CDC.
As stated in the Budget 2024-25 speech delivered by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 in Parliament, the government has advocated for the vaccination of girls between the ages of 9 and 14 against cervical cancer.
Among diseases that affect women, cervical cancer is the second most common in India. A survey released on February 1 by the World Health Organization revealed that the new cervical cancer incidence rate among Indian women is 17.7 percent.