Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer.

You can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by having screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.

demo-attachment-117-Path-18
demo-attachment-119-Path-948
hand-left-Untitled-22
demo-attachment-116-Path-17

Most common symptoms of Cervical cancer

Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms, while more-advanced cervical cancer includes:

  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause
  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

What causes Cervical cancer?

It isn’t clear what causes cervical cancer, but it’s certain that HPV plays a role. HPV is very common, and most people with the virus never develop cancer. This means other factors, such as your environment or your lifestyle choices, also determine whether you’ll develop cervical cancer.

 

Types of cervical cancer

The type of cervical cancer determines your prognosis and treatment. The main types of cervical cancer are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cervical cancer begins in the lining of the outer part of the cervix, which projects into the vagina. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
  • Adenocarcinoma. This type of cervical cancer begins in the glandular cells that line the cervical canal.

Sometimes, both types of cells are involved in cervical cancer. Very rarely, cancer occurs in other cells in the cervix.

 

Risk factors to look out for

Risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Many sexual partners.
  • Early sexual activity. Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.
  • Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs — such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS — increases your risk of HPV.
  • A weakened immune system. You may be more likely to develop cervical cancer if your immune system is weakened by another health condition and you have HPV.
  • Smoking. Smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.
  • Exposure to miscarriage prevention drug. If your mother took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant in the 1950s, you may have an increased risk of a certain type of cervical cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma.
demo-attachment-118-Path-19

How to help prevent Cervical cancer?

To reduce your risk of cervical cancer:

  • Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine. Receiving a vaccination to prevent HPV infection may reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Ask your doctor whether an HPV vaccine is appropriate for you.
  • Have routine Pap tests. Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix, so they can be monitored or treated in order to prevent cervical cancer. Most medical organizations suggest beginning routine Pap tests at age 21 and repeating them every few years.
  • Practice safe sex. Reduce your risk of cervical cancer by taking measures to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as using a condom every time you have sex and limiting the number of sexual partners you have.
  • Don’t smoke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit.

 

Diagnosis

How to detect Cervical cancer at an early stage?

Most guidelines suggest beginning screening for cervical cancer and precancerous changes at age 21.

Screening tests include:

  • Pap test. During a Pap test, your doctor scrapes and brushes cells from your cervix, which are then examined in a lab for abnormalities.

A Pap test can detect abnormal cells in the cervix, including cancer cells and cells that show changes that increase the risk of cervical cancer.

  • HPV DNA test. The HPV DNA test involves testing cells collected from the cervix for infection with any of the types of HPV that are most likely to lead to cervical cancer.

If your doctor determines that you have cervical cancer, you’ll have further tests to determine the extent (stage) of your cancer. Your cancer’s stage is a key factor in deciding on your treatment.

 

Staging exams include:

  • Imaging tests. Tests such as X-ray, CT, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET) help your doctor determine whether your cancer has spread beyond your cervix.
  • Visual examination of your bladder and rectum. Your doctor may use special scopes to see inside your bladder and rectum.

 

What is the best treatment option?

Treatment for cervical cancer depends on several factors, such as the stage of the cancer, other health problems you may have and your preferences. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of the three may be used.

 

Surgery

Early-stage cervical cancer is typically treated with surgery. Choice of operation depends on the size of your cancer, its stage, and your views on getting pregnant in the future.

Options might include:

  • Surgery to cut away cancer only. For a very small cervical cancer, it might be possible to remove cancer entirely with a cone biopsy. This option may make it possible for you to consider becoming pregnant in the future.
  • Surgery to remove the cervix (trachelectomy). Early-stage cervical cancer might be treated with a radical trachelectomy procedure. The uterus remains after this procedure, so it may be possible to become pregnant if you choose.
  • Surgery to remove the cervix and uterus (hysterectomy). Most early-stage cervical cancers are treated with a radical hysterectomy operation, which involves removing the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina, and nearby lymph nodes. A hysterectomy can cure early-stage cervical cancer and prevent a recurrence. But removing the uterus makes it impossible to become pregnant.

 

Radiation

Radiation therapy is often combined with chemotherapy as the primary treatment for locally advanced cervical cancers. It can also be used after surgery if there’s an increased risk that the cancer will come back. If you haven’t started menopause yet, radiation therapy might cause menopause. If you might want to consider becoming pregnant after radiation treatment, ask your doctor about ways to preserve your eggs before treatment starts.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. It can be given through a vein or taken in pill form. Sometimes both methods are used.

For locally advanced cervical cancer, low doses of chemotherapy are often combined with radiation therapy, since chemotherapy may enhance the effects of the radiation. Higher doses of chemotherapy might be recommended to help control symptoms of very advanced cancer.

 

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a drug treatment that helps your immune system to fight cancer. For cervical cancer, immunotherapy might be considered when the cancer is advanced and other treatments aren’t working.

Shopping Basket