UAE: Are you a woman aged 25 or more? Why you should screen for cervical cancer more often

Since this form of cancer only produces mild symptoms, it can often be overlooked

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 1:34 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 9:42 PM

Cervical cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer found in women, is preventable and one of the most easily treatable cancers. Leading experts have stressed that early detection is the key to effective treatment.

The disease develops very slowly and occurs when cells in the cervix begin to multiply uncontrollably. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), with poor lifestyle habits increasing the potential risk. This is according to doctors from Abu Dhabi-headquartered M42 hospitals. The hospitals are providing cervical cancer screenings, educational awareness campaigns, and webinars in observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

“Early detection of cervical cancer is key to successful treatment. We recommend that women aged 25 to 65 years undergo screenings once every three to five years depending on their age,” Dr Neha Gami, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at HealthPlus Family Health Center Clinic, said.

Since cervical cancer only produces mild symptoms, it can often be overlooked. With more aggressive forms of the cancer, patients experience pain in the pelvis, increased discharge, and irregular bleeding.

Dr Neha Gami
Dr Neha Gami

“While cervical cancer takes 10 to 20 years to develop, early detection can help determine the course of treatment. Therefore, women must consider screening every 3 years to ensure they catch the disease before it matures. It is best to speak to your gynaecologist or family physician to understand the best testing options for you,” Dr Gami underlined.

Prevention and detection play an important role in ensuring that there are limited fatalities as a result of cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine is effective in reducing the probability of contracting an HPV infection. This virus increases the likelihood of developing cervical cancer and other related health complications.

Screening aims to detect cancer in its early stages when patients are more likely to respond to treatment. A Pap smear test detects cell abnormalities that could potentially progress to cervical cancer if left untreated.

Dr Merlyne Robis
Dr Merlyne Robis

Dr Merlyne Robis, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children, noted that while women’s health has improved over the years, the importance of screening for cervical cancer remains overlooked.

“Screening can detect precursors and early-stage diseases of cervical cancer. It is a highly preventable disease that often goes under the radar due to poor awareness.”

Dr Robis underlined that early detection and treatment of precursors and early-stage disease can prevent the development of invasive cervical cancer and reduce cervical cancer mortality.

“It is highly recommended that women take advantage of available preventative measures to ensure that they are maintaining good health and are receiving routine cervical cancer screenings. These tests are conducted by gynaecologists and family physicians and are offered by most healthcare facilities,” Dr Robis said.

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