Symptoms of Cervical CancerWhen cervical cells first become abnormal, there are rarely any warning signs. As the cancer progresses, symptoms may include:
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding or pain during sex
Top Cause of Cervical Cancer: HPVThe human papillomavirus (HPV) is a large group of viruses. About 40 types can infect the genital areas, and some have high risk for cervical cancer. Genital HPV infections usually clear up on their own. If one becomes chronic, it can cause changes in the cells of the cervix. And it's these changes that may lead to cancer. Worldwide, over 90% of cervical cancers are caused by an HPV infection.
How HPV Causes Cervical CancerIf one of the high-risk strains of HPV lingers in the body, it can cause abnormal cells to develop in the cervix. These precancerous changes do not mean that you have cervical cancer. But over time, the abnormal cells may give way to cancer cells. Once cancer appears, it tends to spread in the cervix and surrounding areas.
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Aspect intraoperator 3 timpul perineal al amputaţiei rectale începe cu o incizie a tegumentului care circumscrie anusul până la introitul vaginal
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actively expressed changes of exophytic condylomas dysplasias and cancers The most common recognized visible clinical lesion is the condylomata accuminata or genital wart Figures 1 and 2 The lesions are typically multiple well circumscribed papillomatous growths that may involve the vaginal introitus the vulva the perineum the anus and less commonly the cervix 10
Vaginal wall laxity and increased cervical mucus also may make visualization of the cervix more challenging On the other hand progressive eversion of the squamocolumnar junction onto the ectocervix makes colposcopy satisfactory more often Grading of lesions is more difficult than
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What Else Raises Your Risk?
- Have many children
- Use birth control pills for a long time
- Are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system
Early Detection: Pap Test
The Pap test is one of the great success stories in early detection. A painless swab of the cervix can reveal abnormal cells, often before cancer appears. At age 21, women should start having a Pap test every three years. From age 30 to 65, women who get both a Pap test and an HPV test can go up to five years between testing. But women at higher risk may need testing more often, so it's best to check with your doctor. Skipping tests raises your risk for invasive cervical cancer.Of note: You'll still need Pap tests after getting the HPV vaccine because it doesn't prevent all cervical cancers.
Diagnosing Cervical Cancer: Biopsy
A biopsy involves the removal of cervical tissue for examination in a lab. A pathologist will check the tissue sample for abnormal changes, precancerous cells, and cancer cells. In most cases, a biopsy takes place in a doctor's office with local anesthesia. A cone biopsy allows the pathologist to check for abnormal cells beneath the surface of the cervix, but this test may require general anesthesia.
Stages of Cervical Cancer
Stage 0 describes cancer cells found only on the surface of the cervix. More invasive cancers are separated into four stages. Stage I is when the cancer has not spread beyond the cervix. Stage II means the tumor has spread to the upper part of the vagina. A Stage III tumor extends to the lower part of the vagina and may block urine flow. In Stage IV, the tumor has reached the bladder or rectum, or cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body and formed new tumors.
If the cancer has not progressed past Stage II, surgery is usually recommended to remove any tissue that might contain cancer. Typically this involves a hysterectomy, the removal of the cervix and uterus as well as some of the surrounding tissue. The surgeon may also remove the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and lymph nodes near the tumor.
Coping With Cancer Treatments
Cancer treatments may make you tired or uninterested in food. But it's important to take in enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. Check with a dietitian for tips on eating well during cancer treatment. Staying active is also important. Gentle exercise can increase your energy while reducing nausea and stress. Check with your doctor to find out which activities are appropriate for you.
Cervical Cancer and Fertility
Treatment for cervical cancer often involves removing the uterus and may also involve removing the ovaries, ruling out a future pregnancy. However, if the cancer is caught very early, you still may be able to have children after surgical treatment. A procedure called a radical trachelectomy can remove the cervix and part of the vagina while leaving the majority of the uterus intact.
Vaccine to Help Prevent Cervical Cancer
Vaccines are now available to ward off the two types of HPV most strongly linked to cervical cancer. Both Cervarix and Gardasil require three doses over a six-month period. Studies suggest the vaccines are effective at preventing chronic infections with the two types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers. Gardasil also protects against two types of HPV that cause genital warts.