Cervical cancer usually starts in cells on the cervical surface. In the early stages of cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 92%, says the American Cancer Society. So that any possibilities of cancer can be detected early, consider visiting the best gynecologist in Bangalore for timely cancer screenings. Here is everything you need to know about cancer of the cervix.
Late-stage cancer may show symptoms like:
- Unusual bleeding like after sex, in between menstrual cycles, or after menopause
- Pain while urinating
- Requiring to urinate more frequently
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal discharge, smelling or looking unusual
On noticing any of these signs, visit the doctor for an exam.
Cervical cancer mostly happens from infection with “high-risk types” of human papillomavirus (HPV) like:
- HPV 16
- HPV 18
- HPV 31
- HPV 33
- HPV 45
HPV 16 and 18 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of all cases of cervical cancer. If the infections persist longer than 2 years, they mostly turn cancerous.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests an agewise screening schedule below for women:
- Ages 21-29: Receive a Pap smear once every 3 years.
- Ages 30-65: Receive an hrHPV (high-risk HPV) test every 5 years, a Pap smear once every 3 years, or both the tests together every 5 years.
During a Pap smear, a sample of cells is collected from your cervical surface. If tested precancerous or cancerous, the cervix may be examined through colposcopy.
- Stage 1: The cancer is localized and hasn’t spread to other body parts.
- Stage 2: The cancer is larger. It may have spread to the lymph nodes only.
- Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the pelvis or lower vagina only and may block the ureters.
- Stage 4: The cancer may have spread to distant organs like the liver, bones, or lungs.
The earlier the cancer is caught, the more it’s treatable. The main treatment options include:
- Surgery: Based on how far cancer has spread, you may receive:
- Cryosurgery involves freezing cancer cells using a probe inserted into your cervix.
- Laser surgery involves burning off abnormal cells using a laser beam.
- Conization eliminates a cone-shaped part of your cervix with a laser, a surgical knife, or a narrow wire heated by electricity.
- Hysterectomy eliminates the whole cervix and uterus. A radical hysterectomy removes the top of your vagina as well.
- Trachelectomy eliminates your cervix and the top of your vagina. The uterus is left in place so that you can give birth to children in the future.
- Pelvic exenteration may remove the rectum, bladder, lymph nodes, vagina, uterus, and a section of the colon, as per where cancer has spread.
- Radiation therapy
It destroys cancer cells with high-energy X-ray beams. They may be emitted through a machine outside your body, or via a metal tube inserted in the vagina or uterus.
It employs drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout your body in cycles. After receiving the therapy for a duration, you must stop to allow your body to recover.
- Targeted therapy
A new and different drug, Bevacizumab (Avastin) is used in targeted therapy. It checks new blood vessels from growing so that they cannot assist in cancer growth and persistence. This drug is sometimes provided together with chemotherapy.
If required, the above types of treatment may be performed in combination for more effective results.
Besides using a Pap smear and hrHPV test, HPV infections can be prevented effectively with vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both girls and boys can be vaccinated, which works best before they’re sexually active. Having minimum sexual partners and using barrier contraception during intercourse can also help.
If diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer during pregnancy, you can try to receive normal delivery in Bangalore before cancer treatment.