Everything You Need to Know about Cervical Cancer
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that mainly occurs in the cells of the cervix, the lowest uterine portion that connects to the vagina. However, there are many strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), but sexually transmitted infections play a vital role in causing most cervical cancer.
When a person is exposed to HPV, the immune system of the body prevents the virus from causing any harm. This virus usually survives for years that contribute to the process of creating some cells of the cervix to become cancerous.
There are specific ways that help in reducing the risk of developing cervical cancer, and some of these ways include screening tests and receiving vaccination against HPV infection.
No matter which cancer develops in your body, it is always associated with some warning signs and symptoms. The development of cervical cancer also has some symptoms that can give you an idea that cancer is occurring in your body.
Keep on reading this article to know everything about cervical cancer such as its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, associated risk factors and available treatment options.
Types of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is of different types that help you in determining the prognosis and treatment procedure. The main types of cervical cancer include:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is defined as cervical cancer that starts occurring in the thin and flatlining of the cells present in the outer part of the cervix and projects into the vagina. Well, most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cervical cancer that begins in the epithelial cells, the column in shape lining the cervical canal.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Generally, if cervical cancer is in its early stage, it does not produce any signs and symptoms. But, there are specific symptoms that one may notice if the disease is in its more advanced stage. These symptoms include:
Pain when the cancer is its advanced stage
Abnormal vaginal bleeding (other than menstruation)
Abnormal vaginal discharge
Kidney failure due to bowel or urinary tract obstruction, when the cancer is in its advanced stage
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer begins with specific changes in the cervical tissue, which are abnormal. The risk of developing such changes is typically associated with HPV. Besides, early sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners, and intake of birth control pills increase cervical cancer because they result in greater exposure to HPV.
There are different forms of HPV such as different types of a virus causing genital warts, skin warts, or any other skin disease and disorder, which may lead to several changes in the cervical cells, eventually leading to cancer. Also, different types of HPV are linked to tumours in anus, penis, vagina, vulva, tonsils, and tongue.
The genetic material that comes from specific HPV forms has been discovered in cervical tissue that shows precancerous or cancerous changes. Women who have been diagnosed with HPV are more likely to develop cancer in the cervix. In addition to this, girls who begin sexual intercourse before turning 16 or within a year of starting menstruation, they are usually at higher risk of developing this cancer.
Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer,
Early diagnosis plays a crucial role in successful treatment. The treatment of precancerous changes only affect a small part of the cervix and is more likely to be successful.
If cervical cancer is suspected, your healthcare provider will possibly start with a thorough examination of your cervix. Colposcope is the instrument which is used for checking the abnormal cervical cells.
During the colposcopic examination, your doctor will perform a biopsy which means a small sample tissue of cervical cells will be taken and sent to the laboratory for testing. For obtaining tissue, you doctor may use punch biopsy that involves the use of a tool which is sharp to take a small sample of cervical tissue or endocervical curettage that consists of the use of a minor, spoon-shaped instrument or a thin brush for scraping a sample of cervical tissue.
Other than these two, your doctor may also use an electrical wire loop in which a thin, low-voltage electrified wire is used in order to obtain small sample tissue. Besides, cone biopsy or conization procedure can also be used that allows the doctor to get the deeper layers of cervical cells for laboratory testing.
What are the Treatments for Cervical Cancer?
If you were diagnosed with cervical cancer, remember that it is treatable, especially if it is caught in the earlier stage. Some of the treatment options available for cervical cancer include:
Before you undergo any of the above treatments, make sure that you review all the options correctly. It is essential to learn how each treatment option works. If you are not sure about something, better ask questions or consult another doctor for a second opinion.
When to See a Doctor
Well, the range of conditions that result in vaginal bleeding are diverse and worrisome, but may not be related to cervical cancer. Usually, such requirements vary based on various factors such as age, medical history, and fertility.
Vaginal bleeding is never normal after menopause. If you have gone through menopause and have vaginal bleeding, consult a doctor as early as possible. Besides, if you are experiencing heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle or frequent bleeding, it warrants an evaluation by your doctor. Typically, bleeding after sex, especially the vigorous one does occur in some women. If this happens occasionally, there is nothing to worry about. However, evaluation by the doctor is advisable, especially in the case of frequent, repeated bleeding.