Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Early stages of cervical cancer may not exhibit any symptoms.
Causes of cervical cancer include:
- Gene mutations
- Human papillomavirus
- Birth control pills
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices
- Weakened immune system
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Changes in vaginal discharge and odour
Diagnosis of cervical cancer involves:
- Screening test such as Pap test and HPV DNA test
- Colposcopic examination
- Imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET
- Visual examination of your bladder and rectum
Preventive measures for cervical cancers include:
- Regular screening with a Pap test or HPV Test
- Avoid smoking
- Practise safe sex
- Get HPV vaccination.
Treatment for cervical cancer includes:
- Surgery is considered based on various factors such as type, size and stage of cancer, pregnancy plans and overall health conditions. Surgical procedures include:
- Cone biopsy: small cervical cancers are removed by cutting away a cone shaped piece of cervical tissue and leaving the rest of the cervix intact.
- Trachelectomy: surgical removal of the cervix and the surrounding tissues.
- Hysterectomy: removal of the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina and nearby lymph nodes.
- Radiation therapy: it uses high energy beams to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: it uses drugs to destroy cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: type of cancer treatment which helps your immune system to fight the cancer.
- Targeted therapy: type of cancer treatment which uses drugs that target only the cancer cells without affecting normal cells and focuses on specific weaknesses present within cancer cells.
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