Cervical Cancer-Cause,Symptoms and Treatment
‘Cancer’- the very word makes even the bravest of all shudder. Cancer can occur in any part of the body. It is treatable if it is detected at an earlier stage but one has to brace up for the treatment. It is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in women all over the world.
This post aims at discussing cervical cancer. Cancer of the cervix is called cervical cancer. The cervix is an organ of the female reproductive system that connects the uterus and the vagina. When abnormal cells on the cervix start growing out of control, cervical cancer occurs. Early detection of this cancer can help in successfully treating it.
A virus called human papillomavirus or HPV is the culprit behind this cancer. Having sexual contact with a person having HPV can get one infected. There are many kinds of HPV virus. All types of HPV do not cause cervical cancer. Some kinds cause warts in the genital area and some kinds may not have any symptoms to show.
How is it detected?
There is a test called a Pap test that helps in detecting cervical cancer. In this test the cells scraped from the cervix are viewed under a microscope.
HPV is so common that adults do get affected by it at some point of time. The infection might go away by itself but at times it leads to genital warts or to cervical cancer. This makes getting routine Pap tests very important for women. Initial screening with the help of Pap test can spot changes in cervical cells before they become cancerous. Cancer can be prevented by treating the cell changes.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
The abnormal changes in cells of the cervix rarely cause any symptoms. When the cells grow into cervical cancer you may have the following symptoms:
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina, such as bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex or post menopause.
- Pain in the pelvis (lower belly).
- Abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Painful sex.
What is the treatment of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer treatment includes:
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery (hysterectomy)
Depending on the growth of cancer the doctor will decide the treatment. If you have a hysterectomy done you cannot have children. Don’t worry, if the cancer is detected early, a hysterectomy is not always needed.
When should a woman start getting her routine pap tests done?
After the age of 30, it is recommended that a pap test should be done every 3 years.
What is the scenario in India?
Cervical cancer is not common in the US as routine screening is done. Due to early detection of this cancer in the west, there are less number of cases. What about India? In India, cervical cancer is a very common type of cancer related to women, followed by cancer of the breast. 80% of the new cases of cervical cancer are occurring in developing nations like India. India has been reporting one-fourth of the worldwide cases of cervical cancer every year. Shocking!
For the last thirty years there has been a regular campaign against cervical cancer in India but the impact has been very less. When it comes to cervical cancer, India ranks 4th worldwide. The cancer is known to affect women between the ages of 40 and 55 years. The majority of them are from the lower strata of the society who cannot go for check-ups due financial instability. In urban India, cervical cancer accounts for more than 40% of cancers and in rural India it accounts for about 65%of the cancers.
The need of the hour is to spread awareness of cervical cancer and educate women about it.
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