- Cervical Cancer is a cancer that occurs in cells of the cervix – lower part of uterus that connects to vagina.
- It is caused by various strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.
- HPV transmission is influenced by sexual activity and age. Almost 75% of all sexually active adults are likely to be infected with at least one HPV type.
- The body’s immune system usually gets rid of the HPV infection naturally within two years.
- However, in a small percentage of people the virus can linger over time and turn some normal cells into abnormal cells and then cancer.
- It is preventable as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.
Cervical cancer in India and the World
- According to WHO, Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer type in the world.
- It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women of reproductive age (15-44) worldwide.
- According to the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO), India accounts for approximately one-fifth of the global burden.
- India witnesses 1.23 lakh cases and approximately 67,000 deaths each year (one woman every eight minutes).
- According to Globocan 2020, cervical cancer stood at 9.4% of all cancers and 18.3% of new cancer cases in 2020.
- Current estimates indicate that every year approximately 25 lakhs women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 75 thousand dies from the disease in India, and
- Approximately, 83 % of invasive cervical cancers are attributed to HPVs 16 or 18 in India, and 70% of cases worldwide.
- Cervical cancer screening and vaccination are two effective preventive measures.
- There is still little awareness among women about this cancer prevention, and less than 10% of Indian women are screened.
- All women aged 30-49, regardless of symptoms, should be screened for cervical cancer and their adolescent daughters vaccinated against HPV.
- Cervavac, India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer has been developed by Serum Institute of India (SII).