Approximately 300 women are yearly diagnosed with cervical cancer in the Republic of Moldova. This means that each day a woman is detected with cervical cancer. Also, a woman dies from this disease every three days. The data were presented by the National Public Health Agency in connection with the Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which starts today, IPN reports.
The Agency noted that cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally. According to the WHO Global Strategy, to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, countries must achieve and maintain an incidence rate of fewer than four new cases of cervical cancer per 100,000 women a year.
Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix when cells become abnormal and begin to multiply uncontrollably. Over a period, abnormal cells in the early stages evolve into cervical cancer. It is noteworthy that the initial stages of the disease are easy to treat.
The main cause of cervical cancer is the persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which is identified in 95% of cervical tumors. It is estimated that up to 50-80% of people can become infected with HPV in their lifetime.
The main risk factors leading to the onset of the disease include: the high number of deliveries, tobacco use, long-term use of oral contraceptives, young age at the time of the first sexual intercourse, large number of sexual partners.
Early-stage cervical cancer shows no visible signs or symptoms. However, as it advances to later stages, some visible signs of cervical cancer appear, such as vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvic region, violent pain during sexual intercourse, etc.
Cervical cancer is considered one of the most preventable types of cancer. In addition to being prevented by HPV vaccination, precancerous lesions can be easily detected by screening. Screening can also detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment has a high potential for cure.
To prevent cervical cancer, it is recommended to vaccinate girls and boys against HPV (from 9-14 years), in accordance with the National Vaccination Schedule. Women aged between 25 and 61 are recommended to have a screening test (cytological test) every three years.
Cervical screening includes a cytology test and colposcopy, which allow to detect precancerous lesions and cervical cancer in its early stages.
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