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Cervical Cancer - Know Signs Of It!

Reviewed by
Dr. Prasenjit Chatterjee 86% (10 ratings)
DMRT, MBBS, MD - Radiation Oncology, DNBR
Oncologist, Kolkata  •  23 years experience
Cervical Cancer - Know Signs Of It!

Cervical cancer is a cancer that affects only ‘females’. Although it is the most preventable cancer on Earth, it kills the maximum number of women.

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on your cervix, the lowermost part of your uterus that opens into the vagina, grow out of control. The cancer is treatable in the early stages when it hasn’t spread to other parts of your body. However, at later stages, it can be fatal.

The scariest part about cervical cancer is that its symptoms are so general that they are easily missed by most women.

Having said that, the common symptoms of cervical cancer include the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding in between menstrual periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
  • Persistent pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discourse

Causes of Cervical Cancer
Most cervical cancers are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus or HPV. This virus is spread by having unprotected sexual contact just like HIV/AIDS and genital herpes viruses.

There are many strains of the HPV and not all strains cause cervical cancer.

Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer
Since cervical cancer is spread sexually, it’s important for women to undergo Pap smear, a regular diagnostic test for early detection of this cancer. A pap smear is a cytological test in which cells from a woman’s cervix are taken and seen under a microscope. This test can identify changes in cervical cells before they become cancerous. If you observe these abnormal changes in cervical cells and treat them early, you are safe.

It’s recommended that sexually active women get a pelvic exam and a pap test every year to rule out malignancies in the cervix and nip this ‘female’ cancer in the bud.

Treatment of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer has several stages, and the treatment for most stages includes:

  • Surgery such as a hysterectomy may be opted for, which means removal of the entire uterus along with the removal of pelvic lymph nodes. This implies you will never be able to bear children in future.
  • Sometimes, both the ovaries and the fallopian tubes are also removed, if cancer has spread upwards. This may result in premature menopause.
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation

Treatment for cervical cancer depends on how much the cancerous cells have spread. If it’s spread, your oncologist may suggest a combination of the above treatments.
Information and knowledge about this preventable yet lethal cancer should be disseminated among women, especially young women who have not become sexually active yet. And do remember that safe sexual practices like use of condoms and regular Pap tests will save you from this cancer.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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