Cervical cancer is the type of cancer that affects the entrance of the uterus. The cervix is the narrow part of the lower uterus. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes the majority of the cervical cancers.
Causes Of Cervical Cancer
Cancer is the result of the uncontrolled division and growth of abnormal cells. Abnormal cells can be of two kinds: either they do not die or they continue dividing.
This results in an excessive accumulation of cells, which eventually forms the lump, otherwise known as tumor. Researchers are still not absolutely sure why tumor cells occur.
Early Signs of Cervical Cancer
In the early age of cervical cancer, woman may not experience any symptom at all. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are:
- Sharp pelvic pain.
- Smelly vaginal discharge.
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Bleeding between periods.
- Bleeding during sexual intercourse.
- Bleeding in post-menopausal women.
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus)- a sexually transmitted virus. There are more than 100 different type of HPVs, at least 13 of which can cause cervical cancer.
- Multiple sexual partners- cervical cancer-causing HPV types are nearly always transmitted as a result of sexual contact with an infected individual.
- Weak immunity- People with AIDS or transplant recipients taking immunosuppressant are at higher risks.
- Smoking- increases the risk of developing many cancers.
- Mental stress- Women who experinec high levels of stress over a prolonged period of time are more prone to cervical cancer.
- Giving birth at an early age- women who give birth before the age of 18 are more prone to developing cervical cancer as compared to those who give birth at 25.
- Contraceptive pill- Excessive use of contraceptive pill raises risk for the women to have cervical cancer.
- Several pregnancies- women who have had at least three children in separate pregnancies are more likely to develop cervical cancer as compared to women who never had children.
Cervical cancer treatments
Cervical cancer treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combinations of these.
Treatment for early stage cervical cancer – cancer that is confined to the cervix – has a good success rate.
Radiotherapy is commonly used to treat advanced forms of cervical cancer. Around 40% of all cancer patients undergo some form of radiotherapy.
Radiotherapy is also known as radiation therapy, radiation oncology, and XRT.
This method use beams of high-energy X-rays or particles (radiation) to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is the use of chemicals (medication) to treat any disease. In this context, it refers to the destruction of cancer cells.
Prevention of cervical cancer
There are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of developing cervical cancer.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
The link between the development of cervical cancer and some types of HPV is clear. If every female adheres to current HPV vaccination programs, cervical cancer could potentially be reduced.
The HPV vaccine only protects against two HPV strains. There are other strains, which can cause cervical cancer. Using a condom during sex helps protect from HPV infection.
Regular cervical screening will make it much more likely that signs of cancer are picked up early and dealt with before the condition can develop, or spread too far. Screening does not detect cancer but detects changes to the cells of the cervix.
Having fewer sexual partners
The more sexual partners a woman has, the higher the risk of transmitting the HPV virus, which can lead to a higher likelihood of developing cervical cancer.