Cervical Cancer - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Cervical Cancer has been growing extremely since the last couple of decades all over the world. Hailed one of the most dangerous kinds of cancer affected women after breast cancer, it has claimed a large number of lives all over the world. Cervical Cancer is known to occur when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the cervix and they tend to grow out of control. Cervix is basically the lower part of the uterus which opens up into the vagina. Cervical Cancer is known to be treated successfully in the earlier stages upon detection within time. In the initial stages, it can be diagnosed easily with the help of the Pap smear test.
Known as one of the most common kinds of cancer affecting women all over the world, it is basically caused due to the Human Papillomavirus or HPV. HPV gets transmitted from one person to the other via sexual contact with someone who has been afflicted with it previously, not only that; there are different kinds of HPV Virus present all over the world. Though, not all kinds of HPV Virus are known to cause Cervical Cancer in women. Some of them are known to cause genital warts and therefore, do not cause any previous symptoms.
A large number of adults all over the world are known to be affected with HPV virus at one stage of their life or the other. Sometimes, an infection with the HPV may get treated on its own by the body’s defence mechanism. But on the other hand, it causes genital warts in women which can lead to the development of cervical cancer. That is one of the major reasons why it is recommended that women should be getting Pap Smear Tests done at a regular interval. A Pap smear test is successful in determining any changes in the structure of the cervical cells before they turn cancerous. Also, once these cells are treated in time, they can come out to prevent cervical cancer in women.
Due to the change in the structure of the cervical cells, there has been known some symptoms that can determine the occurrence of the disease. Due to the excessive bleeding from the vagina between the menstrual cycles or vaginal discharge that is not normal, Cervical Cancer can be determined within time.
Causes Of Cervical Cancer:
Cervical Cancer, as discussed earlier, is caused due to the change in the structure of the cervical cells. In most of the precancerous stages or cervical cancer, there are some changes that occur in the cervix at the transformational stage, because it is the nature of the cells to not undergo a change constantly. During the natural process of the change in the cells, some of the cells tend to become abnormal and therefore, are at a greater risk of being infected with HPV. Some of the other reasons, which make a person prone towards developing Cervical Cancer, are smoking or getting involved with more than one sexual partner.
Signs And Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer:
The changes in the cell structure are rarely known to leave any known sign. However, with the changing Cervix cells and their conversion into cancerous cells, some of the symptoms that appear are as follows:
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding – This usually occurs between two consecutive menstrual cycles, or after sexual contact or even after menopause.
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- An unexplained change in the menstrual cycle.
- Causing of anaemia due to the abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic, lower back or leg pain
- Increasing urinary problems caused due to blockage in the kidney or the urethra.
- Leakage of urine or stool within the vagina due to the development of fistula (abnormal opening) between the bladder and the rectum.
- An increased loss in the weight.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer is known to be treated successfully in the early stages upon its detection. The choice for the treatment of the same and the prognosis of the cancer depends entirely upon the type as well as the stage of the cancer. On top of that, the age of the patient, the quality of the life of the person and his overall health are too responsible on the treatment of the person.
Different kinds of treatments available:
Treatment choices for Cervical Cancer are different and are of the following kinds:
- Surgery: Surgery is the best way to remove the cancer. This option for treatment is dependent on the type, location as well as the extent to which the cancer has spread within the patient.
- Radiation Therapy: This kind of treatment makes use of the high doses of X rays as well as the implants within the vagina in order to kill the cancer cells from within. This kind of treatment can be used for certain stages of the cancer. Often radiation is used in combination with surgery in order to gain a complete control over the cancerous stage,
- Chemo radiation: Chemo radiation, as the name suggest is a combination of chemotherapy as well as radiation. This is basically used in order to treat both the early stages as well as late stages of cervical cancer.
- Chemotherapy: This technique makes use of medications in order to kill the cancer cells. This is basically used in order to treat the advanced stages of cervical cancer in patients.
Treatment Of Cancer In Pregnant Women:
Treatment of Cervical Cancer for pregnant women is totally dependent on the stage of the cancer as well as the trimester through which the woman is going through. For instance in the early stage of cervical cancer as well as in the third trimester, the treatment needs to be delayed till after the baby has been delivered. Not only that, treatment during the early phase of the delivery too can lead to the loss of the baby. Once the treatment has been completed, it is needed that complete follow up care is done. The gynaecologist makes sure that regular checkups are done from time to time. The following is the routine which is best followed all over the world:
- A pelvic exam and a Pap smear test to be conducted after every three to six months for the first two years after treatment.
- After the first two years, the Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear Test need to be done for every six months for another three to five years.
- After five years of the treatment, a pelvic exam and Pap Smear Test needs to be done every single year once.
Follow up tests also may include an abdominal and pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan. This test has been recommended in order to make sure that the cancer does not spread to the other part of the body such as pelvis or the belly; which are more susceptible. Once the cervical cancer has been diagnosed, some tests are done in order to find out that the cancer cells have not spread to the other parts of the body. The process which is generally used in order to find out if the cancer cells have spread to the other part of the cervix is known as staging. Through this the information is gathered from the beginning of the staging process in order to determine the stage on which the disease is currently on. It is very important to make sure that the stage is known in order to plan the correct line of treatment for the same. Some of the best tests that are used for the determination of the stage are as follows:
- C.T Scan
- PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography)
- Ultrasound scan
- Chest X Ray
- Pre-treatment Surgical Staging
- These are the best possible ways that are used for the determination of the stage and spread of the cervical cancer.