Cervical Cancer: Specific Cervical Health Concerns At Different Life Stages- Expert Shares 3 Tips

January is cervical cancer awareness month, here is a comprehensive guide to managing health concerns at different life stages. Read here to know.

Cervical Cancer: Specific Cervical Health Concerns At Different Life Stages- Expert Shares 3 Tips Education on safe sex practices (Pic courtesy: Freepik)

Cervical health is a paramount concern for women, evolving through distinct life stages. In early adulthood, regular screenings are pivotal to detect precancerous changes. Expert insights emphasize lifestyle choices that mitigate risks. During pregnancy, cervical health assumes heightened significance, necessitating tailored screenings. Postmenopausal years demand vigilance as hormonal shifts impact cervical tissues. Interviewing specialist unveils three pivotal tips: prioritizing screenings, fostering a healthy lifestyle, and embracing proactive healthcare. Crafting an authentic narrative requires a nuanced approach, acknowledging the evolving nature of cervical health concerns. 

According to Dr Rahul Kanaka, Consultant – Surgical Oncology, Manipal Hospital Sarjapur Road and Hebbal, “Cervical cancer remains a significant health concern among Indian women, ranking second in prevalence. Despite being preventable, a lack of awareness contributes to the high incidence of cervical cancer." 

Let us explore recommendations for cervical cancer prevention and delve into age-specific concerns across different life stages as shared by Dr Rahul Kanaka:

General Recommendations

1. Regular Screening: Emphasize the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings to detect potential issues early and facilitate prompt treatment.

2. Healthy Lifestyle: Advocate for a healthy diet and regular exercise to boost overall immunity, aiding in preventing cervical cancer.

3. Timely Reporting: Encourage individuals to report any unusual symptoms promptly, enabling healthcare professionals to address concerns at an early stage.

Age-Specific Concerns

1. Adolescence (10-19 years):

-      Focus: Education on safe sex practices.

-      Prevention: Prioritize HPV vaccination for effective prevention.

2. Reproductive Age (20-39 years):

-      Screening: Recommend regular pap smears to detect pre-malignant conditions.

-      Prevention: Promote safe sex practices, contraception, and monitoring of cervical changes.

3. Perimenopausal and Menopausal (40s-50s):

-      Screening: Advocate for strict pap smear testing, with opportunistic testing during hospital admissions.

-      Frequency: Conduct regular pap smears; consider annual or triennial testing based on the method used, (e.g., liquid-based cytology).

4. Old Age (60+ years):

-      Continued Monitoring: Continue pap smear testing, with consideration to cease testing after age 65 if the previous three results are negative.

"Knowing about cervical cancer and its risks helps people make smart choices about their health. Talking openly about it can make it less scary and encourage more women to get screened and take preventive steps. By spreading awareness about cervical cancer and working together, we can make a difference. We can save lives and make sure women everywhere have the knowledge and support to stay healthy. Let's work towards a future where cervical cancer is preventable, giving women everywhere a brighter future." adds Dr Veena Aggarwal, CMD and Group Editor-in-chief, IJCP Group and Medtalks, Trustee at Heart Care Foundation of India, Gynaecologist and Women's Health Expert.

Dr Rahul concludes, "It is crucial to take the correct measures to address cervical health concerns at different stages of life and prevent cervical cancer. Administration of vaccination during late adolescence and early twenties, regular screening during reproductive and peri-menopausal ages, and safe sex practices can significantly help reduce the burden of cervical cancer. With proper awareness and preventive measures, we can strive towards a future where cervical cancer becomes a rarity rather than a prevalent threat.”