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Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Overview of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a disease in which cells of the cervix change and grow out of control. It is one type of cancer that can affect women. The causes are not known, but risk factors include being over 30 years old, smoking cigarettes, and having several very closely spaced pregnancies. Find out in this article what the symptoms are so that you know if you should see your doctor or go to your local health center.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cells in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. The vast majority of cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that is spread through sexual contact. HPV is very common, and most people who are sexually active will get HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases, the body is able to clear the virus on its own and it does not cause any problems. However, in some cases, HPV can lead to cervical cancer.

Most cervical cancers develop slowly over time. The earliest stage of cervical cancer is known as precancerous changes or dysplasia, which means that there are abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Precancerous changes are not yet cancer, but if they are not treated, they can turn into cancer.

If you have precancerous changes or dysplasia, you may not have any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get regular Pap tests, which can detect these changes early. If precancerous changes are found early, they can be treated before they turn into cancer.

If cervical cancer develops, it may cause symptoms such as:

  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina, including bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • These symptoms may occur months or even

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer typically does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. However, as the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms such as:

  • Abnormal Bleeding: This can include bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause.
  • Pelvic Pain: This may be a sign that the cancer has spread to other organs.
  • Weight Loss: Cancer can lead to weight loss for many reasons, including loss of appetite and difficulty digesting food.
  • Fatigue: Cancer cells can hijack the body's normal energy production process, leading to fatigue.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to see your doctor so they can rule out other potential causes and begin testing for cervical cancer if appropriate.

How to Prevent and Treat Cervical Cancer

Despite being one of the most curable cancers, cervical cancer is still the fourth most common cancer-related death in women. In 2018, there will be an estimated 14,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in India and over 4,000 women will die from the disease. These figures are alarming, but they don't need to be.

Cervical cancer is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus that is spread through sexual contact. In reality, almost everyone who engages in sexual activity will contract HPV at some point in their lives. However, most people who get HPV never develop cervical cancer because their bodies are able to clear the virus on their own.

There are two main ways to prevent and treat cervical cancer: vaccines and screenings.

Vaccines: The HPV vaccine is available for both girls and boys starting at age 11 or 12. The vaccine is most effective when given before a person becomes sexually active, but it can still be beneficial even if given after sexual activity has begun. There are two types of HPV vaccines currently available in India: Gardasil 9 and Cervarix. Gardasil 9 protects against nine types of HPV, including those that cause most cases of cervical cancer. Cervarix only protects against two types of HPV but may be a better option for people with certain medical conditions.

Screenings: Screenings are tests that look for early signs of cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) is the most common screening test for cervical cancer. It involves collecting cells from the cervix and sending them to a lab to be checked for abnormalities. The HPV test is another type of screening test that can be used to look for the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Understanding the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer

The human papillomavirus is the primary cause of cervical cancer (HPV). There are many strains of HPV, and some can cause cervical cancer while others do not. HPV is spread through sexual contact, so the best way to prevent it is to abstain from sexual activity or to have safe sex (use condoms).

Other risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Having multiple sexual partners: This increases your chances of coming into contact with someone who has HPV.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that can damage the cells of the cervix, making them more susceptible to HPV infection.
  • A weakened immune system: This can make it harder for your body to fight off HPV infections.

If you are sexually active, get regular Pap tests. These screenings can detect early signs of cervical cancer, which is highly treatable when caught early.

Conclusion

The cervix is an important part of a woman's reproductive system, and it's vital to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer. Early detection is key to successful treatment, so if you experience any of the symptoms listed in this article, be sure to see your doctor right away. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, cervical cancer is highly curable, so don't delay in getting the help you need.

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