Cervical Cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in a woman’s cervix and often has no symptoms in its early stages. Cervical cancer develops when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. It can be successfully treated if detected at an early stage. Routine Pap screening is the most effective cervical cancer test to detect the abnormal cells in the cervix so it can be monitored and treated as early as possible. Women are advised to take the Pap test starting at the age of 21.
* Most Common Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
* Vaginal Bleeding during Intercourse
* Vaginal Bleeding in between Periods
* Bleeding after Menopause
* Pain in the Lower Belly or Pelvis
* Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
* Pain During Sex
Cervical Cancer may spread within the pelvis, lymph nodes, or elsewhere in the body. The symptoms of advanced stages of cervical cancer include:
* Weight Loss
* Bone Fracture
* Leg pain or Swelling
* Back Pain
* Leakage of Urine or Feces from the Vagina
How is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?
As part of the pelvic exam, a Pap test is suggested to attain the comprehensive picture of the cells. During the Pap screening, the doctor scrapes a small sample of cells from your cervix’s surface to determine the cell changes. If a Pap screening results in the abnormal changes in cells, your doctor may run other tests to check for the cancerous or precancerous cells on your cervix.
How is Cervical Cancer Treated?
When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it is usually removed through surgery. In some cases, the womb needs to be removed while a few cases leave the womb in place. The surgical procedure of removing the womb is called “Hysterectomy”. However, radiation therapy is an alternative to surgery for those women whose cervical cancer was detected at an early stage. In a few cases, this procedure is also used alongside surgery.
The advanced cases of cervical cancer are treated with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Some of the treatments can also come with long-lasting side effects such as early menopause or infertility. The most common treatments for various stages of cervical cancer include:
* Radiation Therapy
Depending on cancer’s condition, one or more treatments can be used to treat it and for that you may also receive a combination of treatments. Though hysterectomy disables your ability to have children, this procedure isn’t always required especially when cervical cancer is found early.
Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?
The Pap test, a cervical cancer test is the best way to find cervical cell changes that can later lead to cervical cancer. A regular Pap screening almost always determine the condition of cervical cells. It is crucial to follow up with your doctor after an abnormal Pap test result. This may help to prevent cervical cancer.
If you are 26 or younger, you can get the HPV vaccine which protects you against various types of HPV (causes most cases of cervical cancer).
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