Over 5,000 women in Vietnam are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, doctors said at a conference on the disease organized in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.
The conference, held by the Vietnam Women’s Union and Medical Diag Center with the attendance of more than 500 women, was aimed at raising awareness among Vietnamese women of cervical cancer and the importance of screening tests for early diagnosis, said Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, director of the Healthcare Support Center under the Vietnam Women’s Union.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered the most common cause of cervical cancer.
There are more than 100 varieties of HPV, 14 of which are responsible for causing the disease, according to Doctor Le Van Hien, general secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Obstetrics-Gynecology Association.
Among them, type 16 and 18 are discovered in 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, Dr. Hien said.
Consequences due to late diagnosis can be avoided by early screening for HPV in the cervical cellular material, according to the World Health Organization.
Other actions such as community education, social mobilization, vaccination, screening, treatment and palliative care should also be taken into account to prevent the disease across the life course, the global organization said.
Cervical cancer begins in the cells lining the cervix (the lower part of the uterus), which first slowly change into pre-cancer cells that can then turn into cancer in the course of many years, according to the American Cancer Society.
Most cases are seen in women younger than 50, the society said.
Symptoms often do not start until the cancer is further along and has spread to nearby areas, it elaborated.
The survival rate of patients in the final stages are relatively low (around 15 to 35 percent), the society added.