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THIS is apropos of a news report, ‘7,000 women die of cervical cancer every year’ (May 11). Cervical cancer is the second major cause of female cancer mortality worldwide, 85 per cent of deaths occur in developing countries. This disease is usually caused by the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV).

The best preventative measure against cervical cancer is to give vaccination to girls at young age and check women’s vaginal smear tests for signs of abnormalities at early stage.

Abnormal cervical cells bring changes infrequently and, as a result, symptoms cannot be easily observed at early stage, but this infection can be diagnosed at a very early phase by Pap test.

Treatment of this cancer can be done by surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Prevention can be achieved by vaccination, which significantly guards against various strains of HPV like HPV 16 and HPV 18. These two strains are most dangerous and account for about 75 per cent of cancers. HPV vaccine, which is most likely to be administered to girls as young as 10 to 13 before reaching adulthood.

Pakistan will be able to prevent the death of 7,000 women every year if this vaccine is given to all girls under the age of 14.

HABIB HYDER LAGHARI Canada