Cervix Cancer

What Is Cervical Cancer ?

Cervical Cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix -- the lower part of the uterus (womb). The cervix is a part that connects the uterus (the upper part where a fetus grows) to the vagina (birth canal).

The cervix is made of two parts. The endocervix is the opening of the Cervix that leads into the uterus. It is covered with glandular cells.

The exocervix (or ectocervix) is the outer part of the cervix that can be seen by the doctor during a speculum exam. It is covered in squamous cells. The place where these two cell types meet in the cervix is called the transformation zone. \Most cervical cancer begin in the cells in the transformation zone.

Types Of Cervical Cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma Most (up to 9 out of 10) cervical cancer are attributed to this type. It is formed in the lining of the cervix.

Adenocarcinoma This kind of cancer is formed in the mucus producing cells in the cervix.

Mixed carcinoma This kind is a blend of both the above types. This type is less commonly seen.

Risk Factors For Cervix Cancer

The factors that could increase the risk of cervical cancer in as women who have:

  • Becoming sexually active at a young age (especially younger than 18 years old)
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection- this is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer.
  • Prolonged use of birth control pills.
  • Weak immune system.
  • Sexually transmitted disease.
  • Smoking

Signs And Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer :

Usually Women with early cervical cancer and precancer have no symptoms.

  • Irregular bleeding between the periods cycle.
  • Post-menopausal bleeding
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Problems urinating or having a bowel movement

Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented ?

The most important things to prevent Cervical Cancer

  • Get an HPV vaccine, these vaccines protect against infection with the HPV types most commonly linked to cancer, as well as some types that can cause anal and genital warts.
  • Regular check ups
  • Have protected sex
  • Don't smoke

Screening Tests ForCervical Cancer

The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular Screening tests. The tests for cervical cancer Screening are

  • HPV DNA test
  • Pap (Papanicolaou) Test

Tests for people with symptoms of cervical cancer or abnormal cervical screening test results

  • Colposcopy
  • Biopsies
  • Imaging studies like CT , MRI, PET CT scan

Stages Of Cervical Cancer

Stage 0: The cells are precancerous.

Stage 1: The cancer has spread from the cervix lining into the deeper tissue but is still just found in the uterus. It has not spread to other parts of the body.

Stage 2: The cancer has spread beyond the uterus to nearby areas, such as the vagina or tissue near the cervix, but it is still inside the pelvic area. It has not spread to other parts of the body

Stage 3: Cancer has now spread to the vagina or the pelvis walls. It is also noticed that the cancerous cells have invaded the ureters that carry urine from the bladder.

Stage 4: Cancer has invaded the pelvis walls also to the bladder or rectum and even has the capacity to grow to further distant organs such as bones, lymph nodes, etc.

Treatment of Cervix Cancer.

Based on the cervical cancer stage, treatment plan can include

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy