Cervical cancer is a disease in which body cells in the cervix or the uterus' lower part are malfunctioning. The cervix is that canal that leads to the vagina.
To understand what cervical cancer is, it is important to note what a cervix is first. It is the birth canal that leads to the vagina.
Cervical cancer is a disease when body cells in the cervix act up until they develop a tumor. When normal cells transform themselves to cancer cells, cervical cancer sets in. Though it is obviously scary to have cervical cancer, the good news is it can be prevented. One must first know the risk factors or chances that she will develop cervical cancer.
The risk factors of cervical cancer are:
1. HPVs or Human Papillomaviruses
HPV is a collection of viruses that put the cervix to danger. Infections like this are common and can be passed through sexual intercourse.
2. Old age
Those who are over 40 are more prone to getting cervical cancer.
3. Not having Pap tests
Those who regularly go for Pap tests have the greater chances to prevent cervical cancer for the very reason that Pap tests detect precancerous cells.
4. Weak immune system
5. Smoking nonstop
Women who have HPV infection but are not smokers are less likely to develop cervical cancer.
Women who have a lot of sex partners have greater chances to have cervical cancer.
How to know if one has cervical cancer. Here are some of the symptoms:
1. Vaginal bleeding that is irregular, abnormal and happens after menopause or in between periods.
2. Pelvic pain
3. Excess vaginal discharge
4. Pain during sex
The moment the symptoms set in, a woman has to go to a doctor for the diagnosis. Here are some procedures for the proper diagnosis:
1. Colposcopy. This is when a doctor uses a colposcope to look at the cervical tissues.
2. Biopsy. This is when a doctor removes tissues and check for cancer cells.
There are four types of biopsy: punch biopsy, LEEP, endocervical curettage and conization.
Like any other cancer, cervical cancer has stages.
Stage 0 is when cancer is located on the top layer of cells
stage 1 is when the cancer is found in the cervix. Nearby tissues are affected when it is already stage 2
stage 3 is when the cancer extends to the vagina's lower part.
stage 4 is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body like bladder and rectum.
Once cervical cancer is detected, it is mandatory that the woman goes out and looks for second opinion. If cervical cancer is still confirmed, then she must subject herself to the proper treatment.
She may be treated through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or even a combination of all these methods.
Surgery is used to treat the cervix and body parts adjacent to it.
This is when high-energy rays go destroy cervical cancer cells. There are two kinds of radiation: external and internal.
Chemotherapy is defined as the treatment wherein anticancer drugs try to combat cancer cells.
A woman who has cervical cancer must not lose hope. As long as she is receiving the right treatment and getting all the moral support from her loved ones, the chance of her survival will be great.