Cervical Cancer is a type of cancer which occurs in the cervix (the part of the uterus or womb that opens into the vagina) of a woman. It develops when cells in the cervix begin to grow out of control and attacks the nearby tissues or spread throughout the body. Large collections of cells that grow abnormally are called tumors. Usually, cervix cancer is very slow growing, although in certain situation it can grow and spread rapidly. In most cases, infected cells heal themselves. While in rest, the virus continues to spread and converts into cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by abnormal changes in squamous cell (in 90% cases) or adenocarcinoma (in 10% cases), either of these cell types in the cervix.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in developing nations, with more than 3 lack new cases yearly and has a 50% death ratio. American Cancer Society's estimation In the U.S. 2015, nearly 13000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4000 women died due to it. Thus, Cervical Cancer clinches 12th number as the most common cancer that women develop.
Years ago, cervical cancer was the number one cause of cancer deaths in women in the U.S. There has been a 75% decrease in occurrence and death from cervical cancer in developed nations over the past few years. Most of this reduction is due to effective screening programs (HPV testing or PAP).
How it occurs?
In more than 90% cases, Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main reason for Cervical Cancer. Other risk factor includes Smocking, low immune system, taking high number of birth control pills, starting sex at very young age and having many sexual partners.
Cervical cancer or pre cancers normally have no symptoms until the cells turn into cancer and attack the deepest parts of the cervix. As a tumor grows in size, it can produce a variety of symptoms and that are signs which can give some sense of cervical cancer at initial stage. They are
There is a thin, watery, blood-tinged vaginal discharge that frequently goes unrecognized by the patient.
Unusual discharge from Vagina – the discharge may contain some blood and may occurs between your periods or after menopause
Bleeding and spotting between periods, and having longer period than usual. Bleeding after douching or after pelvic exam is a common symptom of Cervical Cancer.
Blood spot of light bleeding when you are not having your period
Irregular or cyclic inter menstrual bleeding or post-menopausal bleeding
Abnormal vaginal bleeding such as bleeding after menopause or bleeding or pain during sex
It may possible that you can have these symptoms for other reasons also. It would be preferable if you consult your doctor first.
Some of the late symptoms include
Chronic urinary frequency
Painless fresh rectal bleeding
Altered bowel habit
Leg edema, pain and hydronephrosis
Pelvic discomfort or pain
How to know?
One can only know whether suffered from cervical cancer or not through PAP test. This test exists to find pre-cancerous damage in your cervix. It means that there are abnormal appearing cancer cells, but they haven't plagued tissue barrier in cervix, thus a pre-cancerous wound cannot spread or harm you. However, if we don’t do anything or left untreated, it can evolve as cancer. PAP tests are reported in four stage as:
No abnormal cells - need to follow-up in one year
Abnormal cells of undetermined significance – in this stage, Women can either get a repeat PAP test in 4-6 months / they can get HPV testing / they can be referred for colposcopy
Low risk abnormal cells – further treatment would be colposcopy
High risk abnormal cells – further treatment would be colposcopy
How to know more?
Clinical trials are really vital to know more about cervical cancer and it’s related. Always talk to your family doctors and try to participate in clinical trials if possible.
The purpose of this article is to know initial phase about cervical cancer. You can get additional information through our portal.
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