What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervix is the part that connects female uterus to vagina. Cervical cancer is abnormal growth of cells that begins in cells of cervix. It is the 4th most common cancer in women. According to 2018 research, an estimated 570 000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and about 311 000 women died from the disease. In India, cervical cancer contributes to approximately 6–29% of all women cancers. It is most deadliest cancer in women.
What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer does not produce any symptoms in its early stage. Following symptoms can be observed in advanced stage of ovarian cancer:
Cervical Cancer Symptoms:
- Bleeding between or following periods.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding for longer time.
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
- Increased vaginal discharge.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Bleeding after menopause.
- Unexplained, persistent pelvic or back pain.
Remember above symptoms can also be observed in other diseases of cervix. But if you notice above symptoms, you must see a doctor.
What are risk factors of cervical cancer?
What are stages of cervical cancer?
Stage 0: This is early cancer stage where tumour present on the surface of the cervix in form of CIN 3. This stage, however, is not included in the FIGO system, as referred to as carcinoma in situ (CIS).
Stage I: This is stage of cervical cancer where no. of tumours are present in cervix but have not spread to surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, organs or distant body parts.
Stage II: This is advanced stage of cervical cancer, where the tumour begins to spread beyond the cervix and uterus but not invaded lower parts of the vagina or the pelvic walls.
Stage III: In this stage, the tumour begin to spread into the pelvic walls and even invade the lower part of the vagina. In this stage tumour may block ureter tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder.
Stage IV: This is most advanced stage of cervical cancer where tumour spread into other parts of the body, including, bladder, rectum and other distant body parts.
Is there a test for cervical cancer?
Yes. A Pap test or Pap smear is the screening test for diagnosis of cervical cancer. During this test, the doctor collects cervix cells from vagina by using a device called as speculum. And then these cells are observed under microscope.
Pap smear is followed by biopsy, if abnormal cells are detected. During a biopsy test, the doctor removes piece of abnormal tissue from the cervix and observe it under “colposcope.”
What are treatment options for cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer treatment depends upon several factors such as – type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the woman’s preferences and overall health. The following treatment options are available at Oncoxpert cancer hospital.
- Surgery : Goal of surgery is to remove tumour from cervix, uterus, and upper part of the vagina, called as “radical hysterectomy.” At Oncoxpert, we have highly skilled cervical cancer surgeons who uses most advanced methods to remove tumour. We use minimally invasive laparoscopic methods which causes minimal cuts in body and hence faster recovery of wounds.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells. It is performed after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells and prevent chances of recurring cervical cancer.
- Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy different drugs are used to kill the cancer cells. Usually chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given at the same time
What preparation need to do before Treatment?
Before going for cervical cancer treatment, you should ask following questions with your cancer doctor.
1. What are the benefits of this treatment? Is it likely to help me live longer? Will it reduce or prevent symptoms?
2. What are the downsides to this treatment?
3. Are there other options besides this treatment?
4. What happens if I do not have this treatment?
What is post treatment care for cervical cancer?
Once treatment is over, a women should do regular check-up to avoid chances of recurrence. Follow up tests can include screening exams, Pap tests, and X-rays. Also survivor may observe some side effects after long term. You must talk with your cancer doctor about these side effects. He can suggest you medication to manage these side effects.