Cervical Cancer in Andhra Pradesh: A Growing Problem
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is a very common infection, but most people who are infected never develop cervical cancer. However, some people who are infected with HPV will develop abnormal cells on the cervix. If these abnormal cells are not detected and treated early, they can develop into cancer.
Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. There are two main ways to prevent cervical cancer:
- HPV vaccination: The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine is usually recommended for girls aged 9-14 years old.
- Cervical cancer screening: Cervical cancer screening tests can detect abnormal cells on the cervix before becoming cancerous. The Pap smear is the most common screening test. Pap smears are advised for women aged 21 to 65 years old. In this procedure, a small brush is used to gently remove cells from the surface of the cervix and the area around it so they can be checked under a microscope to look for cervical cancer or cell abnormalities that might develop into cervical cancer. A Pap smear also helps find other conditions, like infections or inflammation. In Andhra Pradesh, the HPV vaccination rate and cervical cancer screening rate are also very low. This means that many women in the state are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high rates of cervical cancer in Andhra Pradesh. These factors include:
- Lack of awareness: Many women in Andhra Pradesh are not aware of the importance of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.
- Lack of access to healthcare: Some women in Andhra Pradesh do not have access to healthcare facilities that offer HPV vaccination or cervical cancer screening.
- Social and cultural factors: Some social and cultural factors, such as early marriage and taboos surrounding sex, can make it difficult for women in Andhra Pradesh to access HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.
The high rates of cervical cancer in Andhra Pradesh are a serious public health problem. However, this problem can be addressed by increasing awareness of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening, improving access to healthcare, and addressing social and cultural factors that make it difficult for women to access these services.
If you are a woman in Andhra Pradesh, it is important to talk to your doctor about HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. These services can help you protect yourself from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening is offered free at medical camps and many hospitals.
Here are some additional resources about cervical cancer in Andhra Pradesh:
- Indian Council of Medical Research: https://www.icmr.nic.in/
- National Cancer Institute: https://www.cancer.gov/
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer
Dr. Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya,
MD, Radiation Oncologist
Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Visakhapatnam