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Information on Cervical Cancer

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 25, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Cervical Cancer is a disease which young women suffer from. In the UK, it is the second most common in women who are less than 35 years of age. Of late it has been claimed that certain changes in the cervix suggest the possibility of cancerous development. Cervix can be described in plain language as “neck of the womb”. The precancerous developments of cervical cancer have been identified which allow for timely treatment.

 

More than 90 % of cervical cancer patients suffer from two types of the disease –


Squamous Cell Carcinoma – It starts to develop in the surface cells of cervix. The precancerous changes can be seen beginning with abnormal behaviour of the cells up to the severe symptoms of the cancer. According to BBC, each year around 24,000 women in UK show such abnormalities after undergoing a cervical smear test.


Adenocarcinoma – Around 5 to 10% cases of cervical cancers are of this type. It is formed in the mucus producing glands of the cervical canal. The glands are in the form of cells. The smear test, which is able to detect squamous cell carcinoma, is not useful for adenocarcinoma. This disease also has a lot of sub-categories.

 

Cervical Cancer – Causes and Risk Factors


  • Some type of Human papilloma virus (HPV) cause this disease. These viruses are found in all cases of cervical cancer. Type 16 and 18 of HPV come with the highest risk for this infection.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, along with HPV can cause cervical cancer. Examples are HIV and Chlamydia.
  • Factors that increase the risk of being exposed to HPV like sex at a premature age, having unprotected sex and multiple sex partners.
  • Smoking damages the immune system of the cervix that resists this squamous cell carcinoma. The special cells of the cervix that prevent this disease are damaged.
  • Hormone replacement therapies that fill the body with oestrogen tend to increase the risk of this disease.
  • Overweight or obese women have naturally more oestrogen in their body. This makes them more vulnerable to cervical cancer.
  • The younger a woman at the time of her first pregnancy, the more is her risk of developing this disease.

 

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

  • Heavy and long menstrual bleeding.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding after, especially after menopause.
  • Bleeding between periods and after sex.
  • Unusual smell in the vaginal discharge.
  • Pain in pelvic region.
  • Pain or difficulty in pelvic region.

 

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer

  • Cervical cancers are detected by the NHS Cervical Screening Programme in UK. Women are invited for having a smear test when they are aged 25.
  • A GP carries out pelvic examination for checking the vagina, womb, ovaries, bladder and rectum for odd looking bumps or abnormal changes.
  • Colposcopy – This involves the use of a microscope for looking in detail at the cervix. It is at times used with a biopsy of the area. The extent of any cancer may need to be confirmed by performing an extensive biopsy of the tissue.

 

Treatment of Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer is treated by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy at different stages or condition of the disease. Survival rates of patients who are treated are over 70 % when detected in its early stages. That is why it is important to have smear tests regularly.

 

 

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