What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer which affects the woman's cervix. The cervix is the lowest part of a woman's uterus and establishes the connecting link to the vagina. When in the condition of abnormal cell growth in the cervix starts invading other surrounding tissues and organs of the woman's body, it is understood to be cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer when it starts spreading first affects the surrounding and deeper tissues of the cervix and then goes on to spread to other vital body organs such as the lungs, bladder liver, rectum and the vagina.
Usually, cervical cancer has a slow growing process to it, meaning when this disease is on its course towards spreading on to other parts, during its progression, precancerous changes in the body, provides plenty of opportunities for doctors to detect it early and sometimes even to prevent it altogether as well as providing the most appropriate, timely treatment to patients.
Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in humans, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. It is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths happening in developing countries.
However, most women, when diagnosed with cervical cancer are found to be 25–30 years of age and it peaks at 55–65 years. This huge gap between the two stages highlights the disease' slow progression rate and gives plenty of time for doctors to take necessary precautions for treatments as well as prevention.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer
The disease itself begins when the cervical tissues experience abnormal changes. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are as follows:
- Abnormal bleeding during menstrual cycle
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Unusual pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal bleeding post-menopause
- Heavier menstrual periods
- Longer menstrual periods
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain or leg pain
- Frequent and painful urination
- Unusual vaginal discharge with a bad odour
- Vaginal discharge tinged with blood
If you spot on any of the symptoms mentioned above, then it’s a worthy decision to consult a doctor and get checked out as soon as possible.
The leading cause of Cervical cancer is connected with HPV. Persistent infection led by the HPV, in most cases, the high-risk variants of the virus, are the no.1 reason that causes the abnormal cell growth in the cervix. Doctors have long recommended performing checks on them with regular cervical screening tests to detect HPV in early stages. Without the routine tests, HPV might not be identified because of its slow progression rate.
If a patient is diagnosed with cervical cancer, then the treatments options are restricted to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
However, there is hope to prevent or minimise the ultimate damage of cervical cancer with HPV vaccines. As the HPV virus takes time to cause problems to the cervix, it takes decades for the abnormal cell growth to be diagnosed as cancer. If a patient, at a first stage diagnosed with an HPV infection, doctors prefer to start treatment using essential HPV vaccines on the patient, with an eye firmly placed on preventing cancer in the future.
Ideally, the recommendation would be to conduct tests as early as 12-13 years of age for women, and doctors, for many patients, provide HPV vaccines at that age point. In these cases, doctors after years of keeping HPV infections in check with the use of HPV vaccines right from an early age will then recommend the patients have their HPV screening tests when they are 25 and if sexually active at that stage.
Overall the HPV vaccines are of immense help to women and avert the risk of cervical cancer by a significant margin. The idea is to be up to date in the sense of having regular HPV screening tests, especially at a very early age. Many patients have the infection or a risk of the same detected early on, and due medications are provided to solve the issue, steadily keeping the long future in mind.
Use of HPV vaccines will work in a prolonged environment, rather than in the short term. These vaccinations go a long way in helping avert the potential contraction of cervical cancer, as it helps in solving the initial HPV infections that is the leading cause of the disease to the cervix.
About The Doctor:
Dr Neeraja Valli – Gynaecologist
Dr Neeraja Valli is a renowned Gynaecologist and is well known for her laparoscopic surgeries and infertility treatments. Presently, she is practising in the Gachibowli branch of Sunshine Hospitals.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man.