The cervix also known as the neck of the uterus is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus that opens at the top of the vagina. It protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall and is cylindrical or conical in shape.
What is Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the malignancy that starts in the cervix. Cervical cancer instigate from the cells located on the surface of the cervix. Cells located on the cervix’s surface are of two types: Squamous and Columnar Cells. Squamous cells are more prone to cancer. Over time, the cervical cancer invades more deeply into the cervix and nearby tissues. Worldwide it is the third most common type of cancer in women.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Approximately all cervical cancers are caused by HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is spread through sexual intercourse. Major risk factors for cervical cancer are as follows:
• Having sex at an early age
• Numerous sexual partners, and sexual partners who have multiple partners and they partake in high-risk sexual activities
• Weakened immune system
Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Some widespread symptoms that may occur are:
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding during menstruation or after an intercourse
• Bleeding after menopause
• Constant vaginal discharge. The discharge may be pale, watery, brown, bloody or foul smelling.
• Long lasting periods with heavy bleeding.
• Body ache specifically in the back, pelvic region or legs.
• Leakage of urine or feces from vagina
• Loss of appetite
• Swelling in legs.
• Loss of weight.
Cervical Cancer Diagnosis
Special tests and tools are needed to diagnose cervical cancer.
• Pap smears screen
• The opening if the cervix is examined through Endocervical curettage (ECC)
• Cone biopsy
• CT scan
• Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
Cervical Cancer Treatment
Treatment of cervical cancer generally depends on the size, shape and stage of the cancer. It also depends upon the age and health of the patient as also her desire for having children in future is a major provision before finalizing the line of treatment.
• Surgery: Removal or destruction of cancerous cells is done through surgery. Different types of surgeries done for early cervical cancer are:
o Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): In this electricity is used to eliminate abnormal tissues.
o Cryotherapy: The abnormal cells are made to freeze in this therapy
o Laser therapy: Malignant cells are burnt with the help of light.
o Radical hysterectomy: It includes removal of the uterus and other surrounding tissues including lymph nodes and upper part of the vagina.
• Radiation therapy