Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45. The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any at all until it’s reached an advanced stage.
Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
- Abnormal Vaginal bleeding: This includes bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse or post-menopausal bleeding.
- Unusual vaginal discharge: A watery, pink or foul-smelling discharge.
- Pelvic pain: Pain during intercourse or at other times may be a sign of abnormal changes to the cervix.
- losing control of your bladder (urinary incontinence) or losing control of your bowels (bowel incontinence)
- blood in your pee
- swelling of one or both legs
Signs of cancer in more advanced forms of cancer: weight loss, fatigue, back pain, bone fracture.
The main causes of cervical cancer
- Human papilloma virus (HPV): is the main cause of cervical cancer.There are more than 100 different types. HPV is spread during sexual intercourse and other types of sexual activity – such as skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas or using sex toys. Some types of HPV don’t cause any noticeable symptoms and the infection will pass without treatment. Others can cause genital warts, although these types are not linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer. However, at least 15 types of HPV are considered high-risk for cervical cancer. The two highest risk are HPV 16 and HPV 18, which cause the majority of cervical cancers. High-risk types of HPV are thought to stop the cells from working normally, which can eventually cause them to reproduce uncontrollably, leading to the growth of a cancerous tumour.
- Pre-cancerous cervical abnormalities: Cancer of the cervix usually takes many years to develop. Before it does, the cells in the cervix often show changes. These cervical abnormalities are known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or, less commonly, cervical glandular intraepithelial neoplasia (CGIN) depending on which cells are affected.
There’s no single way to completely prevent cervical cancer, but there are things that can reduce your risk.
- Screening: This is the best way to detect unusual changes in the cervix in the early stages; this is done through regular Pap smear tests.
- Smoking cessation: Smokers are more likely to be infected with HPV.
- Safer sex: Most cases of cervical cancer are linked to an infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can be spread through unprotected sex, so using a condom can reduce your risk of developing the infection.
- Vaccination: Protects against the 4 most dangerous types of HPV.
Cervical cancer Diagnosis
If pap smear test results are abnormal, other tests should usually be performed, including: colposcopy, blood test, pelvic test, CT scan, and so on.
Treating cervical cancer
If your cervical cancer is diagnosed, the doctor talks about your treatment options. Common types of treatments for cervical cancer include:
- Surgery for Cervical Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer
- Chemotherapy for Cervical Cancer
- Targeted Therapy for Cervical Cancer