About Cervical Cancer, its Causes, Symptoms & Treatment in Mumbai
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is the cancer of lower part of the uterus or the mouth of the uterus. It is caused by various strains of HPV – human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection.
- What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
- What is the cause of cervical cancer?
- What are the risk factors of cervical cancer?
- How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
- What are the stages of cervical cancer?
Early-stage cervical cancer generallydoes not produce any symptoms.Some of the symptoms of cervical cancer include:
- Menstrual periods may be heavier and last longer than normal
- Bleeding or spotting after intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
- Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
- Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
When to see a doctor Make an appointment with Dr. Sampada Dessai if you have any above signs or symptoms that concern you.
- 99% of cervical cancer are caused by HPV – human papilloma virus
- HPV is a sexually transmitted infection
- The main cancer causing HPV are 16, 18, 31, 35, 45, 52, 58
- Most HPV infections are cleared by our body by its immune mechanism
- Only a few persist and it takes years for it to cause cancer
- Cervical cancer usually develops from precancerous stage to cancer
- Having many sexual partners
- Becoming sexually active at a young age (younger than 18 years )
- Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS increases your risk of HPV.
- Having a weakened immune system. You may be more likely to develop cervical cancer if your immune system is weakened by another health condition
- Smoking. It is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.
- Long term consumption of birth control pills.
- Having multiple pregnancies
Cervical cancer develops slowly and goes through several stages over many years.Here are few things from which you can diagnose it
- Screening tests - A pap test or pap smear, HPV DNA test
- Punch biopsy
- Stage 1: The cancer cells are only within the cervix; it hasn’t spread its small.
- Stage 2: Cancer has spread in to surrounding structures like tissue next to cervix or upper part of vagina
- Stage 3: The cancer has spread to areas such as the lower part of the vagina, ureters or tissues at the sides of the pelvic area.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum or beyond the pelvic area to other body parts
Options might include:
- Surgery to cut away the cancer only. For a very small cervical cancer, it might be possible to remove the cancer entirely with a cone biopsy. This procedure involves cutting away a cone-shaped piece of cervical tissue, but leaving the rest of the cervix intact. This option may make it possible for you to consider becoming pregnant in the future.
- Surgery to remove the cervix (trachelectomy). Early-stage cervical cancer might be treated with a radical trachelectomy procedure, which removes the cervix and some surrounding tissue. The uterus remains after this procedure, so it may be possible to become pregnant, if you choose.
- Surgery to remove the cervix and uterus (hysterectomy). Most early-stage cervical cancers are treated with a radical hysterectomy operation, which involves removing the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina and nearby lymph nodes. A hysterectomy can cure early-stage cervical cancer and prevent recurrence. But removing the uterus makes it impossible to become pregnant.
Radiation therapy can be given:
- Externally, by directing a radiation beam at the affected area of the body (external beam radiation therapy)
- Internally, by placing a device filled with radioactive material inside your vagina, usually for only a few minutes (brachytherapy)
- Both externally and internally
For locally advanced cervical cancer, low doses of chemotherapy are often combined with radiation therapy, since chemotherapy may enhance the effects of the radiation. Higher doses of chemotherapy might be recommended to help control symptoms of very advanced cancer.
When palliative care is used along with all of the other appropriate treatments, people with cancer may feel better and live longer.
Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for people with cancer and their families. This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you may be receiving.
To reduce your risk of cervical cancer:
- Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine. Receiving a vaccination to prevent HPV infection may reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Ask your doctor whether the HPV vaccine is appropriate for you.
- Have routine screening test like Pap tests or HPV DNA test Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix.s Most guidelines suggest beginning routine Pap tests at age 21 and repeating them every 3-5 years.
- Practice safe sex. Reduce your risk of cervical cancer by taking measures to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as using a condom every time you have sex and limiting the number of sexual partners you have.
- Don't smoke and If you smoke and can’t quit, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit.