Cervical cancer is the second most highly occurring cancer in women. It is a type of cancer marked by an abnormal growth in the cells of the service or the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
Every woman over the age of 30 has a high chance of cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and long-lasting infections are the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus affecting at least half of sexually active women. When exposed to HPV, the body’s immune system prevents the virus from doing any harm. However, in a small percentage of individuals, the virus can survive for years. The virus contributes to the process of transforming cervical cells into cancer cells.
The risk of cervical cancer can be reduced. Individuals can take periodic screening tests and administer vaccines that protect against HPV infections. Tests and vaccines can help in the prevention of cervical cancer and can be associated with a long and healthy life.
What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer at an early stage produces no severe signs and symptoms. There can be vital signs at a later stage of cervical cancer. They include:
– Vaginal bleeding after intercourse
– Heavy, watery, and bloody vaginal discharge with a foul odour
– Excessive pain during intercourse
– Heavy menstrual flow during periods or after menopause.
What are the Types of Cervical Cancer?
Depending on the shape, size, and number of cancerous cells, types of cervical cancer are named.
– Squamous cell carcinoma: The cancer cells are thin and flat and often occur in the lining of the outer part of the cervix. Most cervical cancers are formed by squamous cell carcinomas.
– Adenocarcinoma: The cancer cells are column-shaped glandular cells that line the cervical canal. Oftentimes, both types of cells are involved in cervical cancer.
What are the Causes of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer often occurs when healthy cells in the service undergo mutations in their DNA. Generally, healthy cells grow and multiply eventually dying after a few days. The mutated cells grow and multiply out of control without dying. The accumulation of abnormal cells begins to form a tumour. Soon, these cells invade nearby tissues or the tumour can break off and get attached to a different body part.
The exact cause of cervical cancer is still unknown. The sexually transmitted HPV definitely plays a pivotal role. The chances of developing cancer with HPV are fairly low. The external factors like environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and dietary intake also determine the chances of cervical cancer.
How Is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?
Your health practitioner or gynaecologist will suggest you undergo a screening test. The test can help in detecting any cancerous cells growing in the cervix. Screening tests are advised for girls as young as 21 years of age.
Screening Tests include:
– PAP Tests: In a PAP Smear, the doctor scrapes the inner lining of the cervix which is then examined under a microscope. The smear can detect any abnormalities including cancer cells. It is also capable of detecting the pre-cancerous cells that may change into cervical cancer.
– HPV DNA Tests: During the HPV DNA test, cells are collected from the cervix and detected HPV. These cells are most likely to become cervical cancer cells.
Correct Treatment of Cervical Cancer
The first and foremost thing any female after 30 should do is undergo regular screening exams. If in case, cervical cancer is detected, talk to your doctor for the best treatment. The doctor is the most eligible person who can advise you on the correct treatment. Based on the severity of cancer, your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and their overall side effects.
You can connect with our expert doctors who can give you better advice on cancer and its treatment.