Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths among women. The usual culprit behind the disease is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Cervical cancer usually appears later in a woman's life, between the ages of 35 and 55.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Symptoms do not usually appear during the early stages. As the disease progresses, the patient will experience the following symptoms:
– abnormal vaginal bleeding, usually after sexual intercourse, in between periods or after menopause
– vaginal discharge with blood and foul odor
– pelvic pain
– pain during intercourse
Cervical cancer usually originates from squamous cells, those thin, flat cells that line the bottom of the cervix. They account for around 80 percent of cervical cancer cases. HPV is said to play a role in the development of abnormal glandular cells. This does not mean that all women who got infected with HPV will eventually get cervical cancer. Other risk factors can influence the possibility of you getting the disease.
Women who are at risk of getting cervical cancer are the following:
– Those who have multiple sexual partners
– Those who started having sex at an early stage
– Those who have other sexually transmitted diseases
– Those who have weak immune systems
– Those who smoke
Tests and Diagnosis
To detect possible signs of cervical cancer, doctors will make use of the following screening procedures:
– Pap test, to detect abnormal cells in the cervix
– HPV DNA test, to detect HPV infection
If your doctor confirms that you have symptoms of cervical cancer, he will have to conduct these further tests to determine which stage of the disease you are in.
– Imaging tests such as x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging
– Cytoscopy and proctoscopy
Infertility is the most common complication in treating cervical cancer. If you are concerned about your ability to get pregnant, you should discuss this with your doctor when determining the best treatment for you.
For non-invasive cervical cancer, the procedures are:
– Cone biopsy
– Laser surgery
For invasive cancer, treatment options include:
To prevent getting cervical cancer, you should take the following measures:
– Avoid having many sexual partners
– Do not smoke
– Get an HPV vaccine
– Have regular pap tests
Remember, we merely wrote about symptoms of cervical cancer as well as prevention measures, treatment and etc. For a complete and authoritative diagnosis and treatment, always consult a specialist.