Cervical cancer occurs when there are tumors that grow at the bottom end of the womb. The reason behind the formation of these tumors is abnormal cell changes at the opening of the cervix. These changes, however, can be detected with the help of screening and can be taken out. You can take help of a vaccine, called the HPV vaccine, to reduce the chances of encountering cervical cancer.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, it is a tube-like structure. The bottom end of a cervix makes its way into the vagina, this is the opening of the cervix. The cervix is the passage that connects the uterus to the vagina. It is the main protector of the vagina as the germs are stopped with the help of mucus that is produced by the mucous membrane present in it.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
If there are abnormal cell changes in the opening of the cervix, then you might not see any symptoms. But, if these changes lead to cervical cancer, then you will probably see a set of symptoms that are associated with the condition. Some of them are listed below:
- An unexpected, untimely bleeding from the vagina like bleeding between menstrual periods, after menopause or even after sex
- A persistent pain in the lower back or the pelvis
- An abnormal vaginal discharge, which usually leads to a foul odor
- Abnormal pain during sex
The symptoms of cervical cancer are usually observed only when it reaches its advanced stages. Thus, you must visit a doctor as soon as you start seeing any of these symptoms.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are one of the main reasons for women to encounter cervical cancer. A long-term infection with this virus can lead to cervical cancer; there are different forms of this virus that can cause cervical cancer. The virus can spread into the female body through sex or direct interaction with the genital area. They disrupt the functioning of the skin cells and the mucous membrane cells. An infection through the body fluids like sperm, blood, or saliva is termed to be an unlikely cause of cervical cancer.
Women encounter an HPV infection at some point in their life; not all HPV infections lead to cervical cancer. Most women encounter this infection between the age of 20 to 30. Men can get affected by this virus, through sex, and can pass it onto other women.
Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer
A Pap test is one of the simplest ways of diagnosing cervical cancer. During a Pap test, the doctor will examine a sample cell from the skin of the surface of the cervix. If abnormal cell changes are observed in this test, the doctor will run a few other tests to confirm the presence of cervical cancer.
Treatment of Cervical Cancer
The symptoms of cervical cancer can only be observed in the advanced stages, which makes it important to address the treatment at the earliest. The treatment for cervical cancer includes surgery, such as hysterectomy along with the removal of pelvic lymph nodes. This can be done with or without the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes. Chemo and radiation therapy and two other forms of treatment that can be adopted for cervical cancer.