Cervical Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, Stages & Treatment

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb), opening in to the vagina. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers of women. While there are many risk factors involved, one of the most common causes of cervical cancer is the virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). A person may contract the virus by sexual contact with another person who has the virus. Not all forms of the HPV virus can cause cervical cancer and some may even cause warts. Luckily, a vaccination is available for prevention of cervical cancer There may be various causes of cervical cancer apart from HPV: such as smoking, having multiple sexual partners or a weakened immune system.

What are the different Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

Vaginal bleeding or spotting, especially in post-menopausal women is the most commonsymptom of cervical cancer. Sometimes there may be no symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of cervical cancer may include:

  • Abnormal or untimely vaginal bleeding (after sex, after menopause)
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (white or blood tinged)
  • Pain while having sex
  • In advanced cases, the cancer may spread to the abdomen, lungs or elsewhere and symptoms related to the organ may be the first symptom of the cancer

Upon reaching an advanced stage, the different signs for cervical cancer may include:

  • Constant pain in the leg, pelvic region or back
  • Problems while urinating because of blockage of kidney or ureter
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia caused by excessive or abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Seepage of urine or stools through the vagina
  • Fatigue

Stages of Cervical Cancer

Screening for cancer cervix is done by a test called Pap smear, which detects pre-cancerous cells also. Cervical cancer can be detected at an early stage by a Pap Smear test. If the cancer has gone unnoticed, it can spread from the cervix to the vagina and into surrounding areas of the uterus. Further development in the stages of cervical cancer may include the cancer spreading to the pelvic lymph nodes and other pelvic organs. Eventually it may spread to other vital organs in the body such as kidney, liver and lungs.

The cancer can spread through  lymph system or blood. There are four stages of cervical cancer.

  • Stage I – Cancer is limited to the cervix.
  • Stage II – Cancer has spread beyond the cervix but hasn’t reached the pelvic wall.
  • Stage III – Cancer has spread to the pelvic wall, lower third of the vagina and has caused problems in the kidneys.
  • Stage IV – Cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum and other parts of the body.

Treatment of Cervical Cancer in India

Cervical cancer prevention includes: screening (using a pap smear test) to detect early stages of uterus cancer, vaccination against cervical cancer, using condoms while engaging in sexual activity and a balanced diet. Confirmation of the cancer or pre-cancer cells by Pap smear is done by a biopsy.

Treatment of cervical cancer, if detected in the early stages has a high cure rate. The type of treatment of cervical cancer depends on the stage of cancer.  A single therapy or a combination of therapies can be used for the treatment of cervical cancer. They options for treatment are:

  • Surgery – to remove the cancer (usually at an early stage)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chemoradiation

The type of treatment of cervical cancer also depends on the patient’s age, lifestyle, desire to have children (need to conserve the uterus) and overall health.

 

Tags: cervical cancer , Stages , Treatment , Signs And Symptoms , Vaccination , Vaginal Bleeding , Uterine Cervix , Womb , Vagina , Human Papillomavirus , HPV , Discharge , Menstrual Cycle , Pelvic , Pap Smear Test , Uterus , Menopause , Chemotherapy , Chemoradiation , Columbia Asia Hospital in India

 

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