What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervix is an organ of the female reproductive system present in the vagina and uterus. Cancer in the cervix or cervical cancer is commonly found in South-Asian women. This cancer is in 10th place in Singapore. Due to proper screening, the cases of cervical cancer are falling in Singapore.
Cervical cancer may or may not produce any symptoms. But the most common symptoms are:
- Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Heavy or foul odor vaginal discharge (may be watery or bloody)
- Pain at the time of intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Urge to urinate frequently
- Feeling discomfort during urination
- Frequent back pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of cervical cancer or we can say that 99.7% of cervical cancer is caused because of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
HPV is introduced to the body through sexual intercourse. Some women’s bodies develop immunity against this while some women cannot and develop cervical cancer. Some other causes of cervical cancer are:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Involving in sexual activities less than the age of 18
- Overuse of contraceptive pills
- Weaker immune system
Detection Of Cervical Cancer
There are many methods to detect cervical cancer previously. Some methods are:
- Screening: Screening helps in the diagnosis of cervical cancer previously. It helps in detect the cancerous cells before they develop cancer.
- Pap test: Pap test is done under a specialist. In this test, some cells are scraped, brushed, and taken to the laboratory to check the abnormalities in the cervix. This test can detect abnormal cells and the cells that show a higher risk of cancer.
- HPV DNA Test: This test includes the collection of cells near the cervix to detect the stain of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
- Diagnosis: From screening, if the cancer is suspected, you have to go through a deep examination of the cervix with the help of a special instrument called a Colposcope.
From Colposcope, your doctor collects the cervical cells through a biopsy for testing. And for this, the doctor may use either of these methods:
- Punch biopsy
- Endocervical curettage
If either of these tests is worrisome, you will go through one of the following tests:
- Electrical wire loop
- Cone biopsy
After all these tests, if cancer is detected, you have to go through the staging test to detect the stage of cancer, which includes:
- Imaging test
- Visual examination of the bladder and rectum
- Treatment: The need for cervical cancer treatment depends on various conditions like cancer stage, health problems, etc. The methods of treatment are:
- Surgery: The type of surgery depends on the rate of spreading of cancer on the particular organ. Some options are:
- Cut away cancer only
- Radiation Therapy: To kill the cancerous cells, the use of high-power beams like x-rays is done in this treatment. It can be given as-
- External beam radiation therapy
- Both internally and externally
- Chemotherapy: It is a treatment given through drugs to destroy the cancer cells after surgery. It can be given through a vein or in the form of a pill. In the advanced stage, high doses of chemotherapy are required. It is of the following types:
- Targeted therapy