Cervical Cancer

What is cancer cervix?

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus and acts as a gate to the uterus.

What are the most common risk factors for cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is commonest among the over 50s but it can affect all age groups. A viral infection of the cervix is present in most cases (especially Human papiloma virus). Smoking appears to increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer, and there may also be a link to the numbers of sexual partners a woman has had at a young age.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

The symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems so consult your physician for diagnosis. Symptoms of cervical cancer usually do not appear until abnormal cervical cells become cancerous and invade nearby tissue. While sometimes no symptoms are seen, most cause the woman to experience bleeding between her periods or after sex.

How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

Cervical cancer can only be diagnosed through a biopsy of the cervix which is obtained by loop electrosurgical excision, colposcopy or cone biopsy.

How can cervical cancer be prevented?

  • Routine, annual pelvic examinations and Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions that often can be treated before cancer develops. Invasive cancer that does occur wouldlikely be found at an earlier stage. Follow up on abnormal Pap smears is equally important.
  • Limit the amount of sexual partners you have.
  • Quit smoking
  • Get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is most effective when given to young women before they become sexually active.

How is cervical cancer treated?

The treatment depends upon whether the cancer has spread to involve other tissues in the pelvis or not. It also depends on the general health of the patient and permission for operations.

– surgery, including:

  • Cryosurgery – using a very cold probe to freeze and kill cancer cells.
  • Laser surgery – use of a powerful beam of light to destroy abnormal cells.
  • LEEP (loop electro excision procedure)
  • Hysterectomy – surgery to remove the uterus, including the cervix.
  • Radiotherapy is aimed at destroying tumor cells that the gynecologist cannot see.
  • Chemotherapy – the use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells.