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Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical Cancer is one of the most common ailments that women suffer from, making it only more important to be taken seriously and treated immediately.
Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms.
Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time. An infection may go away on its own. But sometimes it can lead to cervical cancer. That's why it's important for women to have regular screening. A screening can find changes in cervical cells before they turn into cancer. If you treat these cell changes, you may prevent cervical cancer.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer may include:
- Bleeding from the vagina that is not normal, such as bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex, or after menopause.
- Persistent abnormal discharge.
Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
- The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
- The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.
When to Get Screened
You should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21. The Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. The Pap test is the best way to find cervical cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer. Regular Pap tests almost always show these cell changes before they turn into cancer. It's important to follow up with your doctor after any abnormal Pap test result so you can treat abnormal cell changes. This may help prevent cervical cancer.
In spite of being a fatal ailment, over the years various treatments have evolved that deal with this problem effectively. Some of them are:
1. Surgery: One of the effective and oft availed treatment to cure cervical cancer is surgery. Depending on the stage on which the disease is detected, doctors may suggest for a hysterectomy or removing the pelvic nymph nodes.
2. Chemotherapy: This has emerged as the most sought after way of treating any form of cancer. The abnormal growth of cells that triggers cancer in the first place is deterred in this method by administering drugs to destroy them. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist and ask a free question.