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Cervical Cancer: Q&A with Dr. Rajeev Shrivastava, Sr. Consultant – Radiation Oncology, American Oncology Institute

Q: How Cervical Cancer is caused?
A: Cervical cancer is commonly caused by HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus). This virus is commonly sexually transmitted. In some, women this virus can cause the formation of cancer cells in the cervix which is situated in the lower part of the uterus and connects it to the vagina.
Q: Do every woman with HPV virus gets Cervix Cancer?
A: No, normally our body’s immune system prevents HPV virus from transforming normal cells. But in some women, it may survive longer and lead to the formation of cervical cancer.

Q: How common is Cancer Cervix in India?
A: In India, it is the second most common cancer in women after breast cancer.
Q: What are common symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
A: In the initial stage, symptoms of cervical cancer can be confused with other common problems. Most commonly patients complain of vaginal bleeding in between menstruation periods along with or without discharge which may be foul in odor. Some women may complain of post-coital bleeding. As the stage progresses patient may complain of pelvic pain.
Q: What is the difference between patients from India & developed countries?
A: In India, the patient commonly seeks medical advice in later stages due to feeling of shame and social stigma when the disease is already in the advanced stage. Whereas, in advanced countries, there are lots of awareness along with screening program due to which patient come in early stage.
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Q: What are treatments available for Cancer Cervix?
A: Cancer cervix is treated by surgery followed by radiation in early stages, otherwise, radiation therapy alone is the preferred treatment. Chemotherapy can be given along with radiotherapy or for metastatic disease.
Q: Can we prevent Cancer Cervix?
A: The cervix cancer vaccine is now available and is usually offered to women between the ages of 9 and 26 years before they become sexually active. In addition to the vaccine, females should undergo routine pelvic examination and a “PAP SMEAR” test to detect cervical cancer early on.
Q: What is the importance of early detection:
A: When cervix cancer is diagnosed early, without any complication, most women can be successfully treated. So it is very important to know early sign and symptoms of cervical cancer and practice safe sex to prevent the disease.

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