Worldwide cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women. Cervical Cancer usually develops very slowly. It starts as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. This precancerous condition can be detected by a Pap smear and is 100% treatable. It can take years for pre cancerous changes turn into cervical cancer. Almost all cervical cancer are cuased by HPV(Human papillomaviruses). HPV is common virus that is spread through sexual intercourse. There are many different types of HPV. Some strains lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer originates in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) and opens into the vagina. It arises from the cells present on the surface of the cervix.
A woman’s sexual habits and partners can increase her risk for cervical cancer. Risky sexual practices include having sex at an early age, having multiple sexual partners, or partner who pratcipates in high risk sexual activities.
Cervical Cancer Risk factors:
- Having premature sex
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Poor socioeconomic status
- Weakened immune system
Most of the time , early cervical cancers has no symptoms of cervical cancer may include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause.
- Continuous vaginal discharge, which may be pale, watery, pink, brown, bloddy, or foul smelling.
- Periods become heavier and last longer than usual.
Patients with cervical cancer do not usually have problems until the cancer is advanced and has spread.
- Low backache
- Pain in the pelvis
- Excretion of urine or feces through the vagina
- Single swollen leg
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Pre cancerous changes of the cervix and cervical cancer cannot be seen with the naked eyes. special tests and tool are used to spot such conditions. Pap smear screen for pre- cancers and cancers, but do not make a final diagnosis. If abnormal changes are found , the cervix is usually examined under magnification. This is called Colposcopy. Pieces of tissue are surgically removed(Biopsied) during this procedure and sent to a laboratory for examination. cone biopsy can be done.
Treatment of early cervical cancers
- To ensure that a woman can bear children in the future, removing the precancerous or cancerous tissue without removing the uterus or harming the cervix, can cure early cervical cancer.
- Pre-cancerous conditions are curable when followed up and administered proper treatment.
- 92 per cent of women with cervical cancer have a five-year survival rate.
- Radical hysterectomy: The uterus and much of the surrounding tissues are removed, including lymph nodes and the upper part of the vagina.
- Radiation therapy: It is used in cases where the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis, or cancer that has returned.
- In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil as a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
- Regular Pap smears are useful in detecting pre-cancerous changes, which can be cured before they turn into cervical cancer. A woman should undergo annual pelvic examinations, including a Pap smear when she becomes sexually active, or by the age of 20, whichever is earlier.