Cervical cancer is cancer that originates in the cervix’s cells. The cervix is the slender bottom end of the uterus. The cervix joins the uterus to the birth canal or vagina. Typically, cervical cancer develops gradually over time. Before cancer develops in the cervix, the cervix’s cells undergo dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to surface in the cervical tissue. If not removed the abnormal cells may develop into cancer cells and begin to grow and spread deeper into the cervix and adjacent tissues over time.
What are the two important components of the cervix?
The part of the cervix that can be seen during a gynecological check is called the ectocervix or exocervix. Thin, flat cells called squamous cells cover the outside of the cervix.
The endocervix is the internal portion of the cervix that connects the vagina to the uterus via a canal. The endocervix is made up of glandular cells in the shape of columns that make slime.
The point where the endocervix and ectocervix meet is called the squamocolumnar junction. It is also called the transition zone. Most cancers of the cervix start here.
What are the two major cervix cancer types?
Cervical cancers are named for the type of cell where the cancer started. There are two main kinds:
Cervical adenocarcinomas develop in glandular endocervical cells. A uncommon form of cervical adenocarcinoma, clear cell adenocarcinoma is also known as clear cell carcinoma or mesonephroma.
Squamous cell carcinoma:
Up to 90% of cervix cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. The cells in the ectocervix turn into these cancers.
Sometimes, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are both present in cervical cancer. This is termed mixed carcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma. Very infrequently, cancer can develop in other cervix cells.
Can cervical cancers be detected at an early stage?
Getting regular screening tests is the best way to find cervical cancer early. The HPV test and the Pap test are used to check for cancer of the cervix. These tests can be done by themselves or together, which is called a co-test. Cancers of the cervix can be prevented and lives saved by getting screened regularly. The most important thing to remember is to get regular tests, no matter what kind they are.
Pre-cancers and cancer are much more likely to be treated successfully if they are found early. If you know about the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer, you can also help make sure that you are diagnosed quickly.
What are the signs and symptoms that indicate cervical cancer?
Most early cervical cancers and pre-cancers in women don’t show any signs. Most of the time, symptoms don’t show up until the cancer gets bigger and spreads to close tissue. The most common signs that indicate are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- Longer periods than usual
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Blood discharge after intercourse
The above mentioned signs and symptoms of cervical cancer are generally early signs of the cervical cancer that help in early diagnosis and treatment. In case you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms visit a cancer hospital in Coimbatore to get tested.
The signs and symptoms advanced cervical cancer include:
- Blood in the urine
- Leg swelling
- Trouble urinating
These signs and symptoms are not only caused by cervical cancer. They can also be caused by other health problems. Still, you should see a doctor right away if you have any of these signs. If you don’t pay attention to the signs, the cancer could get worse and make treatment less likely to work.
What are the different stages of cervical cancer?
Doctors will try to figure out if and how far cervical cancer has spread after it has been found. This is known as setup. The stages of cervical cancer shows how far the cancer has spread in the body. It helps figure out how bad the cancer is and how to treat it in the best way. The stage is one of the most important things to think about when deciding how to treat cancer and how well it might work.
Cervical cancer is generally divided into four major stages.
Stage 1 means that the cancer is in the cervix, which is the neck of the womb. It hasn’t spread to other organs or nearby tissues.
Stage 2 means that the cancer has moved out of the neck of the womb (the cervix) and into the tissues around it. But it hasn’t grown into the muscles or tendons that line the pelvis (the area between the hip bones) or into the lower part of the vagina.
When the cancer is in stage 3, it has spread from the cervix to other parts of the pelvis (the area between the hip bones) It may or may not have reached the lymph nodes in the pelvis.
It might have grown into the lower part of the vagina and the muscles and tendons that line the pelvis (the pelvic wall). Or it could have grown big enough to block the tubes (ureters) that drain the kidneys.
When cancer is in stage 4, it has spread to parts of the body other than the cervix and uterus.
What are the different ways that cervical cancer can be treated?
Sometimes, surgery is used to cure cervical cancer. The sort of surgery depends on the location of the cancer.
The uterus is removed during an abortion. When someone has cervical cancer, the cervix and sometimes the structures around it are taken out. Cervical cancer can be treated with different types of hysterectomy:
In a total hysterectomy, the uterus and the cervix are both taken out. During a total vaginal hysterectomy, both the uterus and the cervix are taken out through the vagina. There are no cuts on the belly during this type of surgery.
In a radical hysterectomy, the uterus, the cervix, part of the vagina, and a lot of the tissues and tendons around these organs are removed. The doctor may also take out the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or lymph nodes in the area.
High-energy x-rays or other forms of radiation are used in radiation treatment to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing by damaging their DNA. External radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy are the two main types of radiation treatment.
Chemotherapy, also called “chemo,” is a treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. The medications either kill or prevent the cells from dividing. Chemotherapy can be used by itself or along with other treatments.
Targeted treatment is when drugs or other substances are used to stop the action of certain enzymes, proteins, or other molecules that help cancer cells grow and spread.
Are regular pelvic exams required?
You and your doctor can decide if you need a pelvic check in years when you don’t have to get screened for cervical cancer. This is based on your health background and how often you’ve been sexual.
Still, it’s important to make regular appointments with your doctor to talk about your sexual health and other issues related to your reproductive health. If you are sexually active and under 25 years old, you may be told to get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea once a year.
What are the risk factors of cervical cancer?
- HPV infection
- Multiple children
- Weak immune system
Can cervical cancer affect fertility?
Even if you’ve had cancer of the cervix and it was treated, you can still get pregnant. But some kinds of treatment can make it harder for you to get pregnant. Talk with your doctor about cervical cancer management.
Finding out you have cancer is both shocking and frightening. Talk to your health care team about any questions or worries you have to make sure you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan. If you have cells on your cervix that don’t look right, it is very important to find and treat this terrible disease as soon as possible. Going to regular gynecological screenings and having safe sex can lower your risk of getting cervical cancer. Reach out to a cervical cancer treatment in Coimbatore if you are noticing any signs or if your cervical screening test has detected the tumor growth.