A worthy cause

22 January 2021
2 min read

Martin Wanendeya explains how dental practices can help support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

There are approximately 3,200 new cervical cancer cases every year in the UK, with incidence rates for the disease the highest in females aged 30 to 34. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, more than nine in 10 people with cervical cancer will survive their disease for a year or more, compared with one in two people when the disease is diagnosed at its latest stage. If a diagnosis of cervical cancer is made, dental teams play a vital role in the overall care of affected patients, given that this disease and its associated therapies can negatively impact oral health.

Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It develops when the DNA of healthy cells in the cervix mutate. Healthy cells grow, multiply and die within a set time, but abnormal cells grow, multiply out of control and do not die. If left untreated, these accumulating abnormal cells then form a mass, otherwise known as a tumour. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which develop in the thin, flat cells lining the outer part of the cervix that projects into the vagina.

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