Women suffering from cervical cancer in the State generally report to hospitals at advanced stages, says a latest study by Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC).

AHRCC studied the records of its 82 patients from January to June, 2012, and analysed the data regarding different epidemiological factors associated with cancer cervix.

“Mean age of presentation is 54.96 years which shows that there is lack of awareness of cervical cancer among the patients, while mean age of presentation in Kerala is found to be 34.5 years,” says the AHRCC study.

Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in humanbeings, the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and the most common cancer cause of death in the developing countries. Sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is the most important risk factor for cervical lntraepithelial neoplasia and invasive cervical cancer.

“Early age of first intercourse, multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex, and sex with uncircumcised men, have been found to increase the risk of contracting HPV infection.

There are additional factors that increase the risk of developing cervical cancer after contracting HPV infection.

These include smoking, oral contraceptive use, high parity, and infection with other sexually transmitted diseases,” says Dr. Niranjan Rout, professor of oncopathology in AHRCC, and an author of the study.

As per the study, average age at marriage in the State is 16.81 years whereas WHO report suggests that average age of marriage is 22.2 years for Indian women.

Researchers point out that as consequences of early marriage, sexual life in the rural population begins very early, which is one of the reasons behind women being afflicted by cervical cancer. “Besides, consumption of one or more than one variety of smokeless tobacco and chewing tobacco is found in a majority of subjects which is also a risk factor for cervical cancer,” the study finds out.

As per the study, average age at marriage in the State is 16.81 years whereas WHO report suggests that average age of marriage is 22.2 years.