A new survey has revealed close to 50 percent of middle-aged Indian women have one of the main risk factors of cervical cancer, which is human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV, transmitted through sexual contact, is a cluster of viruses that are extremely common around the world. Out of the 100 types of HPV, almost 14 are cancer-causing. Almost 70 percent of cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions are caused by two main types of HPV (16 and 18).
Researchers analaysed test reports of 4,500 Indian women between the years 2014 and 2018. The women's age range was between 31 and 45. The results revealed this age bracket were at high risk of HPV by 47 percent. Women between the ages of 16 and 30 years were affected by the risk by 30 percent.
Almost one-third of global deaths are due to cervical cancer. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in India among women. However, researchers reveal steps can be taken to avoid it. B.R Das from SRL Diagnostics reveals "cervical cancer is also the only cancer which is preventable if care is taken in the initial stage."
"The high mortality rate from cervical cancer globally could be reduced through a comprehensive approach that includes screening, early diagnosis and treatment programmes,” Das told a news portal.
Apart from vaccination, women should opt to have a regular cervical smear of PAP smear which helps to detect any abnormal cells in the cervix before it becomes cancerous. “While PAP test is much more likely to miss precancerous cervical disease, HPV testing is more sensitive for detecting localised infection and marginally less sensitive for distant infection,” Das explained.