Cervical cancer is one among the gynecological cancers which does not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. That is the reason why women should get regular Pap screening tests for early detection.
As the name suggests, cervical cancer starts in the cervix. Cervical cancer is determined during a Pap smear when the growth of abnormal cells is found in the cervix; which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
Causes Of Cervical Cancer
Although the exact cause of cervical cancer is unknown; in most cases of cervical cancer, the main cause is a virus called Human Papilloma virus or HPV. The HPV virus can be transmitted to a person by having a sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of HPV virus but not all types of this virus can cause cervical cancer.
Risk Factors Of Cervical Cancer
Though HPV virus is the known cause of cervical cancer, there are some risk factors which are known to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Some of the risk factors include:
- Weakened immune system
- Long-term mental stress
- Giving birth at a very young age
- Several pregnancies
- Long-term use of contraceptive pills
- Other Sexually transmitted diseases
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Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Most of the women do not experience any noticeable symptoms during the early stage of cervical cancer. But some women may have symptoms like:
- Vaginal discharge that isn’t normal
- Vaginal bleeding between periods or post-menopause
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Pain in lower abdomen or pelvis
Diagnosis Of Cervical Cancer
The traditional test which is being used to detect cervical cancer is Pap test. But for women aged 30 and over, an HPV test may be used along with the Pap test to find any of the high-risk types of HPV virus that are commonly found in cervical cancer.
Treatments Of Cervical Cancer
The cervical cancer is treated depending on several factors such as the stage of cancer and other health issues one may have. The treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or sometimes a combination of the three.
In the early stage of cervical cancer, the doctor may perform hysterectomy or minimally invasive surgery to cure and prevent recurrence. Radiation therapy may be used alone or with chemotherapy prior surgery to shrink a tumour or to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery. In the advanced stage of cervical cancer, higher doses of chemotherapy are used to control the cancer that may not be curable.
Prevention Of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer can be easily preventable by getting regular Pap tests which helps to detect it at an early stage and getting HPV vaccines which provides protection from HPV virus.