World cervical cancer day: prevention is a victory

Prevent cervical cancer

World cervical cancer day: prevention is a victory

Cancer of the cervix or neck of the uterus is the third most frequent tumor in the world and the sixth in Spain, where 2,500 new episodes are diagnosed per year. The good news is that it can be prevented one hundred percent by taking into account the risk factors.

The main one is the infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The most frequent sexually transmitted disease and the cause of 99.7 percent of cases of cervical cancer.

“80 percent of sexually active women will develop HPV,” warns Lucas Mining. A specialist in Gynecology and director of the Valencian Institute of Oncology Foundation. The expert adds that most of them will eliminate it on their own and that it will only persist in a small minority. As for the chances of cancer developing, only 3 percent will get it. “This is a very rare possibility in which other risk factors must occur,” Mining reassures.

However, being exposed to these factors as well as not having regular check-ups can mean that the chances of suffering from this tumor are not so unlikely.

Preveniresganar is the message launched by the Association of People Affected by Ovarian and Gynecological Cancer (Asaco) and Roche, on the occasion of the first celebration of the World Day Against Cervix Cancer.

Risk Factors And Prevention

Know the risk of cervical cancer

The Human Papilloma Virus is a sexually transmitted disease that is transmitted through men. Who are asymptomatic carriers, and the first risk factor in tumor development? Promiscuity and not using protection during sexual intercourse greatly increase the risk of contracting this disease.

Asarco and Roche give some recommendations to prevent it:

  • Get vaccinated against HPV as soon as possible: it is recommended for girls between 13 and 26 years old and boys between 13 and 21 years old. Up to 26 years for men who have sex with men and for people with weakened immune systems.
  • Go to gynecological examinations and have pap smears between the ages of 25 and 30, every 3 years.
  • Use a condom during sporadic sexual intercourse or if the medical history of the sexual partner is unknown, regardless of taking other contraceptives. In any case, the protection will not be ensured since the condom is not.
  • Follow a balanced diet and avoid being overweight, as it increases the chances of developing the disease.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid stress. In order for HPV to develop cancerous tumors, other factors must be present. Such as having a weak immune system due to stress, depression, and external agents such as tobacco. “There is a delicate balance between the viral load and the immunocompromised state of patients,” Mining warns. Chronic stress and smoking can have important consequences in contact with HPV.
  • Between the ages of 25 and 65, perform specific HPV tests to detect the presence of the virus in the DNA of the cells of the cervix, every five years.

Cervical Cancer Detection And Prognosis

Cervical cancer is the first cause of death from cancer in underdeveloped countries. While in Europe, mortality is very low, thanks to early detection and the use of condoms. Spain is in 12th place in Europe with 2.2 percent mortality: 850 women die from this cancer, which ranks sixth in Europe in terms of incidence of cancer in women.

However, detecting it in the early stages of development is crucial to increase the chances of survival. In the event that the malignant tumor is diagnosed in the early stages. The survival rate reaches up to 90 percent and the possibility of recurrence is 30 percent. On the contrary, if it is detected in advanced stages (III and IV). Survival is reduced to 40-50 percent and it reappears in 60 percent of cases.

The situation worsens for young women, who have a worse prognosis. Although the average age of detection of this cancer is 48 years, 47 percent of women who have invasive cervical cancer are around 35 years. This moment coincides with the average age at which Spanish women decide to have their first child (between 30 and 31 years old), so the detection of this tumor can frustrate their expectations of being mothers, generating a strong psychological impact on the patient.

Some of the symptoms that help identify its presence are:

  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Mild bleeding before and/or after intercourse.
  • Increased vaginal mucus.
  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation.

If prevention has not come in time, Asaco and Roche offer patients personalized therapy, information, support groups, and a multidisciplinary oncology team to help improve the quality of life and survival of those affected.

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