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Cervical cancer dramatically rising in women over 30; expert on top reasons | Health

Cervical cancer cases among women in their eary 30s have dramatically increased in recent times, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association said. Cervical cancer is caused by long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is sexually transmitted from one person to the other. While at least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, few women will get cervical cancer, according to CDC. While cervical cancer screening has made this cancer preventable, yet it is estimated that over 14,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year and more than 4,000 deaths will be attributed to cervical cancer. (Also read: Cervical cancer: 6 lifestyle changes to prevent the disease)

What is cervical cancer

“Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst Indian women . It develops most often in women over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV (a common virus) passes from one person to another during sex,” says Dr. Nisha Kapoor, Director and HOD, Department of Obstetrics Gynaecology & advanced gynae Laparoscopy Marengo QRG Hospital Faridabad.

Reasons why cervical cancer is on rise in women over 30

Dr Kapoor also opened up on reasons behind increases incidence of cervical cancer in women above 30.

Early sexual activity

“Cultural change has led to sexual activity at early age. Immature epithelium of cervix in young women poses a weak barrier and is more prone to get colonised by HPV virus which if persistent is responsible for precancerous and cancerous lesions of cervix,” says Dr Kapoor.

Multiple sex partners

Dr Kapoor says multiple sex partners and increased incidence of STDs further increases the risk of cervical cancer in younger women.

Smoking

Certain lifestyle habits could also raise risk of cervical cancer in young women. “Smoking which is again quite prevalent among youngsters is another risk factor for cervical cancer,” says Dr Kapoor.

Lack of awareness

Lack of awareness amongst even urban educated women for cervical cancer vaccination and cervical cancer screening is another very important reason, according to the expert.

Prevention of cervical cancer in young women

– Avoid unhealthy sexual practices

“Prevention is by education of youngsters to avoid indulging into unhealthy sexual practices as well as seeking medical help for early detection and treatment of STDs. Also, using barrier method of contraception does provide protection,” says Dr Kapoor.

– Avoiding smoking is another prevention

– Cervical cancer vaccine if given between 9-14 years of age and even during catch up period upto 25 years of age protects against cervical cancer to the extent of 95-98 percent.

– Cervical cancer screening by Pap test, LBC and HPV DNA testing gives opportunity to detect and treat precancerous conditions before they turn into cancer.

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