Cervical cancer develops when abnormal cells grow in the cervix. It is an invasive disease that can affect deeper tissues in the cervical area and even migrate to other parts of the body. It is one of the most prevalent and second most frequently diagnosed cancers.
One of the 13 types of high-risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infections causes 99 percent of these cancers, and the persistence of these high-risk HPV infections causes cervical cancer. This disease takes about 5 to 10 years to develop after a persistent HPV infection. As a result, taking the HPV vaccine at a young age (9-15 years) and having regular Pap smear screening tests after 21 years of age aids in the detection and treatment of cervical cancer.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CERVICAL CANCER?
Cervical cancer occurs when the healthy cells of the cervix grow uncontrollably, generating an abnormal mass of cells (lumps), or when their cellular structure is mutated.
Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk type HPV infections in about 99 percent of cases, and most HPV infections are self-cleared. Persistent high-risk HPV infections cause cancer in a small percentage of instances (5-10%). However, a few cofactors have been linked to a higher risk of developing persistent high-risk HPV infections, which can lead to cancer.
The following are some of the risk factors:
- Before the age of 16, young people have had sexual contact.
- Having numerous partners in a relationship
- Taking birth control tablets on a regular basis for a long time
- Using a cigarette
- HIV infections that are linked
- Inadequate nutrition/hygiene
- Immune system failure
What are the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer patients, like many other malignancies, can be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t display any symptoms until cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Vaginal discharge that is abnormal
- Vaginal bleeding that isn’t regular
- Pelvic discomfort
- vaginal bleeding after a sexual encounter
- Bleeding after menopause
- Vaginal bleeding after a sexual encounter or in between periods.
Foul-smelling vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain are common symptoms of advanced-stage cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment
Cervical cancer, like any other type of cancer, requires early detection in order to be successfully treated and cured. Precancerous stages, where only the surface tissues of a tiny portion of the cervix have been damaged, are significantly more successful than advanced stages, where the disease has migrated to other tissues and affected a substantial portion of the cervix.
Early detection and successful treatment are aided by regular clinical examinations, yearly Pap smear tests, and HPV screenings. Pap tests look for abnormalities in cells taken from the cervix, allowing for early detection and treatment.
The higher the success rates, the earlier the diagnosis and therapy. Cervical cancers in their early stages are frequently treatable, with surgery curing 80-90 percent of cases.
Beyond stage 4, cure rates for advanced cervical cancer are 40-60 percent, with radiation and chemotherapy as the primary treatment choices. Before radiation, laparoscopic surgery is sometimes used to remove lymph nodes.
Dr. Anup Toshniwal is an Experienced Cancer Doctor in Aurangabad. He has completed his M.D. from Kasturba Medical College in Mangalore and his DM in Medical Oncology from Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. He graduated from Government Medical College in Aurangabad with a bachelor’s degree in medicine. He has considerable experience with all types of tumors, including hematological cancers, as well as procedures such as bone marrow biopsies, lumbar puncture, and thoracocentesis. Dr. Anup Toshniwal is a well-known Cancer Specialist in Aurangabad who is noted for his caring and pleasant approach to his patients. His mission is to provide his patients with the most inexpensive, effective, and evidence-based cancer treatment possible.