Cervical cancer is one of the top 10 cancers among women in India.
Cervical cancer is a type of malignant cancer that occurs in the Cervix. In medical terms, the cervix is the lower part of the uterus and connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth-canal). The ectocervix(lower part of the cervix) lies within the vagina and the endocervix(upper two thirds of the cervix) lies above the vagina. It is estimated that most of cervical cancers originate from the area where the endocervix and the ectocervix join together. If you are a woman, the cervix is the hollow cylinder (birth canal) that connects your uterus with your vagina and is the place where the fetus grows during pregnancy.
A significant number of cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus.
As per the statistics from the National health portal of India , almost 1.25 lakh women are detected with cervical cancer and about 67,000 die from the disease every year(2012 data).
Both exposure (environmental or occupational) to particular agents/substances & an individual’s susceptibility to these agents/substances are thought to contribute to one’s risk of developing Cervical cancer
|Persistent infection of the cervix with Human Papillomavirus (HPV)|
|Smoking: Both Active and passive smoking increase the risk of cancer|
|atients with HIV AIDs and Transplants are at an increased risk with Cervival cancer|
|Self/Spouse having multiple sexual partners|
|HPV vaccines reduce the risk of cervical Cancer.|
|Vitamin A is associated with lowering risk the risk of the disease as are vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.|
The following are the common symptoms of Cervical Cancer
|Typically, the early stages of cervical cancer is free of symptoms|
|Moderate pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal discharge are symptoms of cervical cancer|
|Unexplained weight loss|
|Pelvic pain, back pain, leg pain, swollen legs|
|Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam is a common symptom of cervical cancer|
|Loss of appetite|
|Pap Smear test|
|Precancerous lesions detected during scans|
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer among women. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus.
During the routine procedure, cells from your cervix are gently scraped away and then examined for abnormal growth. The procedure is done at your doctor’s office. It may be mildly uncomfortable, but doesn’t usually cause any long-term pain
|Age||Recommended Frequency of conducting the test|
|< 21 Years old, not sexually active, no known risk factor||None Needed|
|21 Years - 29 Years||Once every 3 years|
|30 years - 65 years||Once every 3 years if your PAP Smear and HPV tests are negative.
Consult a doctor if the tests are positive
|65 years and older||You may no longer need Pap smear tests; talk to your doctor to determine your needs|
Treatment for cervical cancer depends on the stage of the disease, patients overall health and preferences.
Broadly, there are two common types of cervical cancer (listed below). There are other types of cervical cancer but these are rare.
Most physicians follow the FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) guidelines while deciding on the staging of cervical cancer
|Stage of Disease||Description|
|Stage I||Cancer has spread from cervical lining into the deeper tissue
; however the cancer is localized in the uterus.
|Stage II||Cancer has spread from Cervix to near by areas like the vagina
or the tissue near the cervix but is still contained to the pelvic
|Stage III||Tumor has spread to pelvic wall and/or lower third of the vagina
and/or causes swelling of the kidney
or stops kidney to stop functioning. It has not spread to lymph nodes
in this stage.
|Stage IV||This happen when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body like bladder/rectum or other lymph nodes|
|Surgery||Surgery is often used for the treatment of cervical cancer patients. The surgery
is done by a gynecologic oncologist.
|Radiation therapy||Radiation therapy or Radiotherapy is a treatment technique based on high energy ionizing radiations (such as gamma rays from a radioactive source like Cobalt-60, Iodine-32, high energy x-rays from a medical linear accelerator or proton/carbon ion based particle accelerators).|
|Chemotherapy||Chemotherapy has been used traditionally for cancer treatment and chemo-therapeutic agents are one of the most commonly used drugs in oncology. Chemotherapy does not differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells and destroys both.|
|Targeted Therapies||Targeted therapies are designed to identify and act on specific properties exhibited by cancer cells. They do so by attaching themselves to these cells (cell proteins or cell receptors) or blocking cellular pathways eventually killing these cancer cells. A common targeted therapy used for treatment of cervical cancer is bevacizumab (Avastin), a monoclonal antibody often used in combination with cisplatin (a chemotherapy drug).|
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