What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer affects women of all ages around the world; is the second most common cancer in women across the globe and in India it is the most common women’s cancer. Cervical cancer is a cancer of the cervix – the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer is diagnosed in over 500,000 women every year globally and is the cause of 270,000 deaths globally and over 70,000 in India alone.
HPV and the cause of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is caused by persistent and recurring infection with a common and contagious virus – the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many strains of this virus of which 15 cause cancer. The most common cancer causing types are 16 and 18 – these two are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer globally.
High-risk HPV is generally transmitted via skin-to-skin contact in the genital area and it is easy to become infected through sexual intimacy. HPV infection is one of the most common infections and part of most women’s lives. Up to 70% of women contract high-risk HPV infection at some point during their life, often, soon after sexual debut.
HPV is a necessary cause of cervical cancer, but not all women with HPV infection develop cervical cancer. Factors such as smoking, multiple pregnancies, and use of birth control pills increase the risk of developing cervical cancer
Signs and symptoms
Cervical cancer often goes unnoticed because the symptoms mimic those of other ailments. Often cervical cancer has no symptoms. Early symptoms are vaginal bleeding, occurring between the menstrual periods or an unusual discharge.
Regular check-ups involving a pelvic exam and ‘pap smear’ will help early diagnosis of cervical cancer.Back to top
GSK offers a range of vaccines, for the prevention of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, invasive disease caused by H, influenzae, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and others
This section may contains information in several formats:
To download PDF files you will need Adobe Reader. If you do not have it installed, it is available free from the Adobe website. PDF links on this site open in a new window.