Cervical cancer is a kind of cancer that develops in the lower portion of the uterus that attaches to the vagina or the cervix. The development of cancer cells in this region leads to severe complications and cells can metastasize to other regions of the body. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and its strains are some of the primary reasons for the development of cervical cancer.
Causes of cervical cancer
The cells in your cervix have the potential to develop into malignant cells if your body doesn’t battle the HPV infection effectively.
There are about 100 different types of HPV, and several of them have been linked to cancer. Cervical cancer can be prevented by early diagnosis of these HPV strains. The HPV vaccine can help in defending you against the HPV that is responsible for up to 90% of all cervical malignancies.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer symptoms cannot be detected immediately and they take years to develop into a threatening condition. The best way to get a cervical cancer diagnosis is through cervical cancer screening. Further symptoms of cervical cancer can be detected depending on the severity of the condition.
Stage 1 cervical cancer symptoms
- Blood in vaginal discharge with bad odor
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause and sexual intercourse and during the menstrual cycle
- Longer menstrual periods with heavy blood flow
Symptoms after cancer has spread to nearby tissues and organs
- Blood detected in urine
- Severe fatigue and weight loss along with a decrease in appetite
- Backache and lung swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Pain and difficulty in excretion
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is strongly advised to visit your nearest multi super speciality hospital and undergo cervical cancer screening through a Pap test.
Cervical cancer diagnosis
Pap tests and regular checkups are the best ways to diagnose this condition. A pap test, also known as a Pap smear, involves the analysis of cervical cells from your cervix.
In case of anomalies in this test, additional tests are required. Cervical cancer is often linked to HPV, hence, an HPV test is also conducted as a precautionary measure.
Cervical cancer treatment
There are various kinds of treatments for cervical cancer depending on the severity of the situation and the medical requirements of the patient.
Your cervix’s cancerous cells are destroyed by energy beams used in radiation therapy. Two types of radiation therapy exist that are:
- External Beam Radiation
Chemotherapy (chemo) kills cancer cells by administering medications by injection into your veins or through oral ingestion. The medication enters your bloodstream and kills harmful cells effectively. Chemotherapy uses a variety of medications, some of which can be combined. The process of chemotherapy is undertaken in cycles.
Cervical cancer is treated with a variety of surgical procedures. The most typical procedures used to treat cervical cancer include:
LEEP ( Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) – Usage of an electrically charged wire loop to remove cells
Radical Trachelectomy- Surgical removal of the cervix
Radical Hysterectomy-Surgery to remove the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, and a wide area of ligaments and tissues around these organs
Cone biopsy: A procedure in which a piece of tissue in the shape of a cone is taken from your cervix.