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Cervical Cancer - Overview

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect a woman's reproductive organs.

The abnormal growth of cells occurs in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina leading to cervical cancer.

Fortunately, when detected at an early stage, cervical cancer is highly curable. Pap test screening, when done regularly, is the single most important tool for preventing cervical cancer because it can detect abnormal cervical cell changes before they become cancerous, when treatment is most effective.

Cervical Cancer Symptoms or Signs of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer symptoms are not so evident in the initial stage of the disease. This disease rarely causes any symptoms in the early stage therefore it is important to have regular screening test done if the risks of developing the disease are detected.

Cervical cancer symptoms may be evident as the disease progresses. Some of the cervical cancer symptoms or signs of cervical cancer are as follows:

  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge containing mucus that may be tinged with blood that may be heavy and have a foul odor
  • Pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse
  • Significant unexplained change in the menstrual cycle.
  • Bleeding when something comes in contact with the cervix, such as during sexual intercourse or insertion of a diaphragm.
  • Anemia because of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Ongoing pelvic, leg, or back pain.
  • Urinary problems because of blockage of a kidney or ureter.
  • Leakage of urine or fecal content into the vagina because an abnormal opening (fistula) has developed between the vagina and the bladder or rectum.
  • Weight loss.

Cervical Cancer Treatment

Fortunately if the disease is detected in its early stages it can be cured with proper treatment and a close follow-up regularly. Cervical cancer treatment choices may be divided into two types: the pre-invasive stage treatment and the invasive stage treatment. The different treatment options for both the stages are categorized as follows:

Pre-invasive stage

This stage is characterized when the disease affected only the outer layer of the lining of the cervix. The treatment method for this type may include the conization which is a type of surgery preformed to remove the affected area or part. The other method of surgery is the laser surgery which uses the narrow beam of intense light to kill cancerous and precancerous cells.

The cryosurgery, hysterectomy and the LEEP are the other methods involved in treating the pre-invasive stage of cervical cancer. The former type involves freezing and killing cancerous and precancerous cells.

Invasive stage

Many women are treated successfully for invasive cervical cancer and live full, productive lives. The treatment may involve more or less similar procedures of pre-invasive stage like the hysterectomy which is further divided into the simple and the radical type.

The other methods are the trachelectomy which is the radical type. The standard methods used for invasive stage treatment are the radiation and the chemotherapy as well.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine

Surprisingly this is the only type of cancer which can be treated with vaccine. A vaccine against one strain of the virus that causes cervical cancer is 100 per cent effective, early US trial results reveal.

The virus responsible for most of the cases of cervical cancer is the HPV. Latest research reveals that two other strains of this virus are introduced for better results in eradicating and controlling the disease.

 

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