What is cervical cancer ?

Cervical cancer often occurs mostly in women. Cervical cancer developed in a women cervix (the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina).  Most of this condition starts with abnormal cells growth on the surface of the cervix.

Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancers are caused mainly by a sexual transmitted human papilomavirus (HPV). When exposed to this virus, the body immune system typically prevents the virus.  In a small percentage of people, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes cervical cells to become cancer cells.

Risk factor of Cervical Cancer

  1. Sexual history: Multiple sexual partners increase the chance of exposing of HPV. Also becoming sexually active at a younger age and having partner who is considered high risk of the virus.
  2. Smoking: Smoking exposed people to many cancers causing chemical that affect the organs other the lungs. These harmful substances are absorbed through the lungs and in the bloodstream throughout the body. Chemical substances absorbed damage the DNA of the cervix cells in women that smoke and contribute to the development of the cervical cancer. However smoking also suppresses the immune system in fighting the virus.
  3. Economic status: Inability to access adequate health care services, including cervical cancer screening with Pap test and HPV tests due to low income may not be screened or treated for pre-cancer.
  4. Weakened immune system: When the immune system Is weakened by other health condition such as HIV, AIDS.
  5. Hereditary: Genetics factors also contribute to the development of the condition. If there is family history of cervical cancer, it contributes to the process of development.
  6. Oral contraceptive: The risk of developing cervical cancer is higher in those taken oral pills for 5 or more years. However, the risk level decreased gradually and eventually returns to a normal after several years of abstinence of oral pills.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer include:

  1. Unusual bleeding
  2. Vagina discharge with strong odor
  3. Pain in the pelvis
  4. Frequency in urination
  5. Pain during urination
  6. Vagina discharged tinged with blood

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer

After suspecting or occurrence of above listed symptoms, investigation to rule out cervical cancer is expected which include:

  1. Punch biopsy: This procedure include using a sharp tool to cut off small samples of cervical tissue.
  2. Endocervical curettage: A small spoon-shaped instrument or a thin brush to scrape a tissue sample from the cervix.
  3. Electrical wire loop: Thin, low voltage electrified wire to obtain small tissue layer of the cervix.
  4.  Cone biopsy: Deeper layer of the cervical cells is obtained for laboratory testing under general anesthesia.

Stages of Cervical Cancer

  1. Stage 1: At this stage, the cancer appears small. However it can spread around the lymph nodes.
  2. Stage 2: The cancer is larger. It may have spread around the uterus and cervix or to the lymph nodes. It hasn’t reached other part of the body.
  3. Stage3: The cancerous cell has spread to the lower part of the vagina or to the pelvis. Blockage to the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder.
  4. Stage 4: The cancer may have spread outside of the pelvis to organ like lungs, bones or liver.

Treatment of Cervical Cancer

The four main treatment of cervical cancer include:

  1. Surgery: Surgical procedure are use to remove the cancerous cells. For can that is widespread, surgery may involve removing the cervix and other organ in the pelvis.
  2. Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells using high-energy X-ray beams. It can be done outside the body using machine. It can also be carried out using a  metal tube placed in the uterus or vagina
  3. Chemotherapy: Cervical cancer treatment that involved the use of drug to kill cancer cells throughout the body. There is treatment cycle for this method of treatment.
  4. Targeted therapy: Bevacizumab is a new drug that works in a different way from chemotherapy and radiation. It blocks the growth of new blood vessel that helps the cancer grow and survive. This drug is use combined with chemotherapy.

Prevention of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer can be prevented by regular screening, HPV vaccine, avoiding multiple sexual partners. Also abstinence of oral contraceptive, smoking can reduce the risk of the virus.

Complication of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is associated to complications ranging from minor to life threatening, which include:

  1. Minor bleeding from the vagina
  2. Frequency in urination
  3. Kidney failure
  4. Fistula




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