The state when the cells of the cervix lead an abnormal growth and invade other organs and tissues of a woman’s body is called Cervical Cancer.
This cancer affects the tissues of the cervix and spread to other parts of the body, such as lungs, liver, bladder, rectum, and vagina. Since cervical cancer is slow-progressive in nature, it provides opportunities for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Cervical Cancer Facts
Precancerous changes in women are diagnosed while they are in their 20s and 30s. However, the average age when women are diagnosed with cervical cancer is the mid-50s. This difference in the age at which precancerous changes are diagnosed and when cervical cancer is actually diagnosed highlights nothing but slow progression of the disease.
This is also the reason why the different stages of adequate treatment can prevent it.
According to a study by American Cancer Society, the majority of cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. As HPV vaccine can effectively prevent HPV, Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention or CDC suggests all preteens take this vaccine.
Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Women in the early stage of cervical cancer may not experience any symptoms of signs at all. This marks the need for a regular pap smear or pap tests for its early diagnosis.
Although a pap test does not detect cervical cancer, it can certainly detect any cell changes, which could lead to cancer development so that preventive actions can be taken at the earliest.
The following are some common symptoms of cervical cancer:
However, the symptoms listed above could also refer to some other causes or infections. Therefore, anyone who experiences any of these symptoms must see a doctor at the earliest.
Cervical Cancer Causes
Most cells in the human body have a fixed lifespan and new cells are produced automatically when old ones die. The uncontrolled division and growth of abnormal cells in the human body leads to cancer. The growth of abnormal cells can have two possible outcomes:
Irrespective of the cases above, the accumulation of excessive cells leads to the formation of a lump known as a tumor. The reason why these cells become cancerous is still unknown.
There are some risk factors that increase the development of cervical cancer in women. Some of these are as follows:
Cervical Cancer Stages
Before cancer can be effectively treated, it is important to figure out its current stage. In fact, staging cancer helps further to figure out how much it has developed so far. There are multiple ways to find out the current stage of cancer, but the 4-stage system is widely used.
The following are the stages:
Cervical Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatment comprises surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and combinations of these. Which treatment option to choose is subject to the cancer stage, age and overall health of the patient.
In this treatment method, high-energy X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells while these radiations may also cause diarrhea, upset stomach, early menopause bladder irritation etc.
In this treatment method, chemicals are used to destroy cancer cells, typically those that were not removed or the surgery. Some common side effects of chemotherapy include diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, infertility etc.
The stage at which cancer is diagnosed indicates that chances of the person to survive 5 or more years. This survival rate is not applicable to everyone, as sometimes treatment is successful even at stage 4.