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Cervical Cancer - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options For It!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Senior Residency Training Program (Surgical Oncology), Fellowship in Cancer Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai  •  39 years experience
Cervical Cancer - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options For It!

Cervical cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix grow in an abnormal manner and affect other tissues and organs of the body. When it turns out to be invasive, this cancer adversely affects the deeper tissues of the cervix and might spread on to other parts of the body as well. It develops slowly, so it provides enough opportunities for prevention through early detection and treatment. Most of the women happen to be in their 20s and 30s when they get diagnosed with cancer in their cervix.

Causes

Let us look at the possible causes behind the occurrence of cervical cancer. They include:

  • Usually, this type of cancer begins when healthy cells develop a genetic change over a period of time, which causes them to turn into abnormal cells
  • Cervical cancer can also be caused as a result of other factors like the environment in which women live and their lifestyle choices
  • Having sex at an early age also increases the risk of developing Human Papillomavirus, which in turn could lead to cancer
  • A weak immune system due to some other health problem can also let women have HPV

Symptoms

Cervical cancer in this early stage does not come up with any kinds of signs and symptoms. The symptoms of the more advanced stage of cervical cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the vagina after intercourse
  • Women might even notice blood oozing out from vagina between periods or after menopause
  • Pelvic pain or can even come across pain while having sexual intercourse

Treatment

Treatment for Cervical Cancer depends upon several factors like the stage of cancer, other health issues that a woman might be going through and of course, individual preferences. The usual methods of treatment include:

Surgery: Cervical cancer, which is developed at an early stage, usually gets treated with the help of surgery, which aims to remove the uterus, known as a hysterectomy. Surgery can help cure early-stage cervical cancer and thus prevent recurrence. The doctor might recommend:

  • Simple Hysterectomy: Here, the cervix and uterus are removed along with cancer. This procedure is suggested at the early stage of cancer.
  • Radical Hysterectomy: Here, the cervix, uterus along with the part of vagina and lymph nodes in the area are removed with cancer.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy makes use of high-powered energy beams like X-rays or protons, for killing the cancer cells. This can be used along with chemotherapy prior to the surgery to shrink a tumour or after surgery to kill off any cancer cell that might remain. Radiation therapy can be given in the following ways:
  1. Externally by way of directing a radiation beam at the affected area of the body.
  2. Internally by placing a device filled up with radioactive material inside a woman’s vagina for a few minutes.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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