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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Understanding the stages of cervical cancer | Health


ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

January is labelled as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and as per a report by Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Mumbai, cervical cancer claims the life of one woman every eight minutes in India. Cervical cancer is a serious health issue that affects women globally and in India and it is the cancer of the cervix, which is the opening from the vagina to the uterus.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2024: Understanding the stages of cervical cancer (Photo by Twitter/LifestyleAlt)
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2024: Understanding the stages of cervical cancer (Photo by Twitter/LifestyleAlt)

After breast cancer, it is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths among Indian women. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ashish Gupta, Chief Oncologist at Unique Hospital Cancer Centre in Delhi, shared, “Cervical cancer, often linked to Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is one of the most common cancers in our country. Regular screenings, such as Pap smears and HPV tests, play a pivotal role in early detection.”

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As a cancer specialist, Dr Ishu Gupta, Chief Oncologist at Cancel Cancer Hospital in Delhi, shed light on the stages of cervical cancer to empower everyone with knowledge that is crucial for early detection and informed decision-making. He listed the stages of cervical cancer as –

  • Stage 0 (Carcinoma in situ): At this initial stage, abnormal cells are developing. They are confined to the inner lining of the cervix and have not invaded the deeper layers of the cervix. Treatment options include surgery or localised procedures, offering a high chance of cure.
  • Stage I: Cancer is limited to the cervix, and treatments may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination to remove or destroy the tumour.
  • Stage II: With cancer extending beyond the cervix but not reaching the pelvic sidewall, treatment strategies may include surgery, radiation, or a combination to address the spreading malignancy.
  • Stage III: At this stage, cancer involves the lower vagina or the pelvic sidewall. A comprehensive approach, combining surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, is often employed to combat the disease.
  • Stage IV: Cervical cancer reaches an advanced stage, spreading to adjacent organs like the bladder or rectum. Treatment options become more complex, requiring a combination of surgery, radiation and systemic therapies.

Dr Ashish Gupta concluded, “Early detection significantly improves treatment outcomes. A multidisciplinary approach, involving medical and radiation oncologists and surgeons, is vital to treat this cancer correctly. HPV vaccination is important in preventing cervix cancer. HPV is the most common cause of cervix cancer and is responsible for more than 95% of cases of cervix cancer. Timely vaccination can prevent this infection and thereby prevent cervix cancer. All girls between the ages of 11-26 years should be vaccinated. This vaccination is safe and effective in preventing most cases of cervix cancer. Remember, together we can cancel cancer.”


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