Cervical Cancer

  • Overview

  • Symptoms

  • Diagnosis

  • Treatment

Overview

Infection with the Human Pappilomavirus (HPV) is the major risk factor in cervical cancer. Most of the abnormal cells develop in the area called the transformation zone where the endocervix meets the ectocervix. Cervical cancerous cells gradually develop over many years. These pre-cancerous cells are called dysplasia and can generally be removed with a clinical procedure.

Screening: Since two-thirds of sexually active women are vulnerable to HPV and cervical cancer develops over years, most women get screened for cervical cancer only after a PAP test shows some abnormalities. Hence, it worth taking the following preventive:

  • Have regular PAP smears to detect changes in cervical tissue
  • Have your partner use condoms regularly
  • Explore HPV vaccination

Early Symptoms

  • First sexual intercourse at a very young age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Infection with AIDS
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Smoking

Diagnosis

  • PAP smear
  • Liquid-based cytology
  • Cone biopsy
  • Colposcopy
  • Imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans or MRI

Treatment

  • Surgery: A hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus. The surgeon may also extract some tissues close to the cervix and the uterus along with some lymph nodes from the pelvis to check if the cancer has spread in those areas.
  • Chemotherapy: May be the only treatment, or given before and after surgery to kill cancer cells wherever they have spread.
  • Radiation Therapy: May be combined with one or both of the above procedures and targets the cancer throughout the body.