Cervical cancer is a common disease in women and is preventable. It is caused by infection through certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that increases a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer cells.
Read more to get cervical cancer information in detail.
What Happens When You Have Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer occurs when genital HPV types 16 and 18 and some other low-risk types cause normal cells in the cervix to become abnormal.
These abnormal cells can then turn into high-grade precancerous lesions over some time and eventually develop into invasive cancer if left untreated.
What are its Symptoms?
Only 40 percent of patients diagnosed with cervical cancer have early symptoms, which often go unnoticed. Symptoms of this type of cancer can include:
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause
- Bleeding after douching or a pelvic exam
- Unusual vaginal discharge that may be watery, bloody, or have a foul odour
- Frequent pain during intercourse, painful urination, bleeding after menopause
How is it Diagnosed?
According to reports, the American Cancer Society diagnosed around 14,480 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in 2021.
Your doctor can perform a Pap smear to check for abnormal cells on the cervix. A colposcopy is a procedure that uses a magnifying lens to examine your vagina and cervix. A lighted tool called a speculum helps your healthcare provider see the cervix more easily.
Your doctor will prefer using a speculum, a metal or plastic tube-like device used in pelvic exams, to widen the vagina and get a better look.
You lie on an exam table and put your feet in supports called stirrups for the procedure. Your doctor will use vinegar on the cervix, making abnormal areas turn white or yellow.
These patches are then treated with medicine to destroy abnormal cells that could become cancerous.
What are the Treatment Options?
Depending on how far your cancer has progressed, your doctor might recommend one of these treatments:
- For early-stage cervical cancer, your doctor will remove all or part of the cervix during a hysterectomy procedure. Radiation treatments usually follow it to kill any remaining cancer cells.
- If your cancer is in a later stage, you may have radiation therapy and chemotherapy after surgery. In some cases, chemotherapy drugs are given through an IV while the radioactive seed implants are in place.
- If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, treatments called systemic therapy or chemo might be used. Systemic treatment includes oral medications you take by mouth, shots or infusions given through a needle or catheter and surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes.
- The type of treatment is also called palliative care because it relieves symptoms but doesn’t cure the disease.
- Chemotherapy involves potent drugs to kill cancer cells. Systemic therapy may also be used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
How to Eliminate Your Risk of Cervical Cancer?
You can lower the risk by getting vaccinated against HPV and practicing safe sex. Vaccinations given in childhood are most effective, although they work best when given before a person becomes sexually active.
Cervical cancer is a common and preventable disease. Women should get regular Pap tests and follow up on any abnormal results to ensure their safety.
About The Author:
Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.