Vaccines and early treatment can prevent or increase the survival rate of cervical cancer, but the rates of vaccination and medical checkups remain at half of the total.
According to the state of national cancer checkups available at National Health Insurance Service(NHIS)국민건강보험공단, the screening rate of cervical cancer was 53 percent last year, and 26.9 percent among women in their 20s.
The rate was very low, given women aged 20 or older can check cervical cancer free of charge from last year. Previously, only those 30 or older could get free checkups.
Also, the human papilloma virus (HPV), the cervical cancer vaccine, became available for girls teenagers aged 12, but the primary inoculation rate stood at only 58.5 percent.
According to experts, however, HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer, and half of the women who were not infected with the virus are infected with it within three years of starting sex life.
In Korea in particular, the age to have the first sex goes down and the trend of free sex spreads, the occurrence rate of cervical cancer in the 20s and 30s has increased.
According to data from Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service (HIRA)건강보험심사평가원 from 2011-2015, there were more than 2,000 women with cervical cancer aged 30 or younger every year, and the share of cervical cancer patients in their 30s was 14.9 percent, followed by those in their 20s with 11.9 percent.
"Women aged 16 or younger have an immature cervix, and so if they have sex, they are more vulnerable to cancer-causing agent or HPV," said Professor Han Seung-soo한승수 of Chung-ang University.
He went on to say, "If they are infected with HPV, the virus is developed to a dysplasia cell. If they don’t do a medical checkup, they can come down with cervical cancer in their 20s and 30s."
HIRA recommended women aged 20 or older to undergo cervical cell screening at least every two years, to prevent cervical cancer and raise the survival rate to 90 percent by detecting it in the early stage
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>