What do you know about cervical cancer? If you’re a woman, you may know more about this type of cancer than your male counterparts . . . or maybe you don’t. Considering that cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide, you might want to learn what you can about cervical cancer – and as soon as possible. Well, we’re here to help! Keep reading for the lowdown on cervical cancer, including causes, symptoms and treatment options.Causes Of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer occurs when cells that are abnormal on the cervix grow out of control. Cervical cancer is most commonly the result of the human papillomavirus or HPV. HPV is contracted by sexual contact with someone who has HPV. There are several types of HPV, however not all types of HPV will cause cervical cancer. Some types cause genital warts and there are some types that will not cause any symptoms at all.
You can have HPV for a long period of time - even years - and not know you have it. HPV stays in the body and can lead to cervical cancer years after it is contracted. This is the most important reason why women need to have Pap test. Pap tests find changes in cells in the cervix area before they become cancerous. If these cells are treated early enough cervical cancer can be prevented.Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer
Cell changes in the cervix rarely cause symptoms. However there may be symptoms if the cell changes evolve into cervical cancer. The symptoms of cervical cancer often include:
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Unexplained changes in the menstrual cycle
- Cervical bleeding when anything contacts the cervix (like during sex or putting in a diaphragm)
- Painful sex
- Discharge from the vagina that is blood-like
Diagnosing Cervical Cancer
During a routine pelvic exam women should always include having a Pap test. A Pap test involves a slight scraping of a sample of cells from the cervix area, which are then analyzed looking for changes in the cells. If the results of the Pap test are abnormal your family doctor or gynecologist may advise additional tests to look for pre-cancerous or even cancer cells in the cervix area.
Your family doctor or gynecologist may also do a Pap test to take a tissue sample which is called a biopsy. This is done especially if there are symptoms of cervical cancer such as bleeding after sex.Treatments For Cervical Cancer
When cervical cancer is caught in its early stages it can be cured.
Treatments for cervical cancer in most of the stages completely remove the cancer which renders a woman unable to have children. However if the cervical cancer is caught in its very early stages women are still able to have children after treatment. Treatments include:
- Hysterectomy and removing the lymph nodes in the pelvic area sometimes with removal of both ovaries and the fallopian tubes
- Radiation therapy
Depending on the amount of cancer that has grown there may be one or more treatments advised. At times there is a combination of treatments given.
If you’re not getting regular Pap tests, it’s time to start! This simple test can help detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages and prevent you from the consequences of cervical cancer.