Poonam Pandey Death Cause: Cervical Cancer Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The nation woke up today with the tragic news of the death of social media personality, model turned actress Poonam Pandey, from an advanced case of Cervical Cancer. Her death has once again brought to the fore the incidence of Cervical Cancer in women.

It is estimated that 604,000 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, and about 50% of these women succumb to the disease. What is even more tragic is that Cervical Cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.

As per WHO statistics, Cervical Cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in women. The cancer affects the cervix region, which is the portion of the female reproductive system that connects the vagina to the mouth of the uterus or cervix. As already mentioned, it can be easily cured if the cancer is detected early. Even in advanced stages, the cancer can be treated with proper treatment. Cervical Cancer can be prevented with vaccination, which must be done for girls between the ages of nine to fourteen years. The Government of India has initiated an ambitious program to include the Cervical Cancer vaccine in the vaccination schedule of the nation, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman has also allocated funds in the Interim Budget of 2024.

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Cause of Cervical Cancer

Ninety-nine percent of cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is usually transmitted sexually and affects the throat, genitals, and the skin. The WHO says that almost all sexually active adults can get infected, though most of them are asymptomatic. India has already developed its desi HPV vaccine, which is a quadrivalent vaccine and is scheduled to be introduced under the National Universal Immunization Program (UIP) as a twin-dose regimen for adolescent girls.

As already mentioned, most of the infections can be tackled by the immune system of the human body. However, repeated instances of infections can lead to malignancy or abnormal growth of the cells of the cervical region, and this can turn into cancer. The run-up to a full-blown incidence of Cervical Cancer can take up to 15 to 20 years, but for women with a weak or compromised immune system, this process can be reduced to 5 to 10 years. The high-risk groups include young mothers, women on hormonal contraceptives, STD sufferers, smokers, and women on immunosuppressive treatments.

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Symptoms and Treatment

  • Excessive bleeding during menses, during menopause, or coition
  • Leucorrhea or foul discharge from the vagina
  • Chronic back pain, weakness, and loss of appetite
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Swelling in the legs

The diagnostic test for cervical cancer is a PAP smear, in which a swab of the tissues of the cervix region is taken and analyzed in the lab for any malignancy. A PAP smear test every six months will help to diagnose the incidence of Cervical cancer early, and proper treatment can be initiated. Treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

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