Cervical cancer (a malignant tumor of the cervix, the lowermost part of the uterus) is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Because of the Pap smear test, the number of cervical cancer cases has actually dropped over the past 20 years. However, many women still develop cervical cancer.
While some cases of cervical cancer cannot be prevented, there are many things a woman can do to reduce her risk of developing cervical cancer.
Reduce Your Risk of Cervical Cancer:
Again, cervical cancer prevention should be a top priority for all women. Small lifestyle adjustments, combined with regular medical care, can go a long way in preventing cervical cancer.
Sexually transmitted diseases can often be shortened to STDs. STDs often do not show any symptoms. It is possible that you may have had a disease such as chlamydia and not even known you had it. However, it is crucial that you get yourself tested as soon as possible so that the sexually transmitted disease can be treated in the best way possible. Since there are many sexually transmitted diseases and they all have different symptoms and treatment, here are the symptoms and treatment for the most common ones:
HPV stands for human pappilovirus and it may display no symptoms whatsoever that you have the disease. However, when you do get symptoms, you will get symptoms such as genital warts, infection of the throat and mouth as well as cervical cancer, penile cancer and various other cancers. The treatment for HPV is to take a vaccine; as if you have not been vaccinated, it is hard to cure.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease, however, only 25% of women and about 50% of men show any symptoms of it whatsoever. However, the most common symptoms when they do appear is a discharge from the vagina or penis which is not regular and it may even cause a painful or burning sensation. Since this is a bacterial disease, it can pretty easily be treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is yet another common sexually transmitted disease. It usually occurs along with chlamydia. The symptoms and treatment for gonorrhea are also extremely similar to chlamydia.
Syphilis is another common sexually transmitted disease. However, it is a little hard to treat because the symptoms appear in stages. In the first stage, there is only one main bump on the body. This bump may look like a cut, a sore or even an ingrown hair. In the second stage, this bump becomes a rash which goes all over your body and it may develop sores in your mouth, vagina or anus. Symptoms usually completely disappear in the third stage. However, if there is a fourth stage then brain or organ damage may occur. Antibiotics are used to treat syphilis as well.
Regular pap tests i.e., tests that look for any signs of cervical cancer should be conducted regularly so that it can be detected at its initial stage and can be treated accordingly.
The physical constitution of a woman’s body is complex and must be subject to regular medical check-ups. The reproductive system in women is especially sensitive to many factors. Colposcopy is a surgical procedure that entails an examination of the vulva, vagina, and cervix by using a tool known as the colposcope. This process is performed if unusual results are detected in Pap smear test.
The Pap smear is a medical screening test that helps identify abnormal cervical cells. The doctor uses the bright light that emanates from the colposcope to see the cervix more clearly under optical magnification. In case irregular areas are spotted during the Pap smear test, a tissue sample is retrieved from the cervix and then sent for biopsy.
What is the purpose of colposcopy?
Colposcopy is performed if a woman starts bleeding profusely right after engaging in sexual intercourse. The medical procedure enables doctors to identify abnormal growth in the reproductive system of a woman; such growth may be visible in the vulva, vagina, or in the woman’s cervix.
Cervical cancer can be identified with the help of a surgical procedure like colposcopy. The procedure can be used to locate ailments in the uterine cervix. These abnormalities may include genital warts or excessive inflammation of the cervix. The latter is known as cervicitis.
How is Colposcopy Performed?
The first step of the colposcopy procedure requires the patient to lie down with the feet placed in stirrups, similar to how a patient would have to lie down when undergoing any Pap smear test or a pelvic exam. A speculum is placed on the patient’s vagina, and the colposcope shall be positioned some inches away from the vulva. The insertion of the speculum can generate some discomfort, but the pain does not last long.
The vagina and the cervix are swabbed with vinegar and cotton to clear any mucus and to highlight any abnormal cells. The colposcope does not physically touch the person. The doctor may proceed to take photographs of areas that might appear suspicious to him. He may also extract a tissue sample from the cervix and send this to a laboratory for biopsy.
The doctor applies a solution to the patient after the biopsy has been executed. This action helps to control the bleeding that may occur after the colposcopy. The solution is known as Monsel’s Solution, and it generates a dark discharge following the procedure. The discharge may occur for a few days.
Colposcopy is an effective procedure that identifies abnormal growth in cervical cells. While there are no risks associated with this procedure as such, it is common for patients to experience bleeding and even fever for a few days after the surgery.
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer which occurs in the cervix or the lower part of the uterus in women, which opens up into the vagina. It's different from the other cancers that occur in other parts of the uterus and has a high rate of being cured if detected early.
Causes of Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is usually caused when abnormal cells present in the cervix, get out of control. Usually, major cases of cervical cancer are caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus or HPV. This virus gets transmitted from one person to another by sexual means or sexual contact. Abnormal changes in the cervix cells lead to cervical cancer. Usually, cell changes occur in the transformation zone in the cervix as the cells tend to change constantly, thereby leading to cancer.
How it can be diagnosed?
A routine screening test should be undertaken to observe any abnormal cell changes in the cervix and also for the screening for cervical cancer. Taking regular Pap smear test is recommended to detect abnormal cell changes so that cervical cancer can be prevented before hand. Other diagnostic tests include Colposcopy and cervical biopsy to determine the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix, Endocervical biopsy and Cone biopsy.
Treatment options available:
Cervical cancer can be treated when detected at an early stage. The type of treatment depends on the stage and type of cervical cancer. The most common treatment methods are as follows:
Pelvic cancer is caused by abnormal cell changes in the pelvis. It is a common kind of cancer and can cause negative effects on health. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for treating pelvic cancer.
Regular preventive check ups are a must for being healthy and if you wait too long between check ups, it may become too late to detect a problem. Cervical cancer screening is especially important for women via a pap smear test, as it's the best way to detect cancer.
A Pap test is done to screen any changes in the cells of the cervix, including cervical cancer or conditions that may develop into cancer. Doctors recommend that Pap smear testing should begin at the age of 21 for women, and should be done every 3-5 years for women between the ages of 21 to 65 years.
For women between ages 30 - 65 years, the test can be done once in five years, if it is combined with testing for HPV. A doctor may recommend frequent Pap smear tests if a person is diagnosed with cervical cancer, HIV infection or a weak immune system caused due to organ transplant or chemotherapy.
When can you discontinue Pap smear Tests?
If you are sexually active, doctors may ask you to continue your Pap smear tests even after the age of 65. Women can discontinue Pap smear tests after getting a total hysterectomy. However, some women may still have to undergo the test if they have had the surgery for cervical or uterine cancers or if you are a high-risk patient with HIV or have a weakened immune system. In these cases, women will have to continue getting Pap smear tests. Even if you stop getting Pap smear tests, it's advisable to keep getting regular pelvic tests.
What symptoms to watch out for between Pap smear tests?
Regular pap tests i.e., Tests which look for any signs of cervical cancer should be conducted regularly so that it can be detected at its initial stage and can be treated accordingly.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When these abnormal cells are present in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix.
Screening Prevents Cervical Cancer and Saves Lives:
The Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix. These cells may, over time, turn into cancer. This could take several years to happen. If the results of a Pap test show there are abnormal cells that could become cancerous, a woman can be treated. In most cases, this treatment prevents cervical cancer from developing.
Pap tests can also find cervical cancer early. When it is found early, the chance of being cured is very high. The most important thing you can do to avoid getting cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests.
Any woman who has a cervix can get cervical cancer, especially if she or her sexual partner has had sex with several other partners. Most often, cervical cancer develops in women aged 40 or older. Abnormal cells in the cervix and cervical cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. That’s why getting tested for cervical cancer is important, even if there are no symptoms.
What is the Pap Test?
The Pap test, also called the Pap smear, is a cervical cancer screening test. It is not used to detect other kinds of cancer. It is done in a doctor’s office or a clinic.
During the test, the doctor or nurse uses a plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, to widen the vagina. This helps to examine the vagina and the cervix, and collect a few cells from the cervix. These cells are placed on a slide and sent to a laboratory to be checked for abnormal cells.
Who Should Have a Pap Test?
Doctors recommend that women begin having regular Pap tests and pelvic exams at age 21, or within three years of the first time they have sexual intercourse – whichever happens first. After a woman has a Pap test each year for three years in a row, and test results show there are no problems, she can then get the Pap test once every 2-3 years.
Who Does Not Need to be Tested?
The only women who do not need regular Pap tests are:
How Do I Prepare for the Pap Test?
To prepare for the Pap test, doctors recommend that for two days before the test you should avoid:
Try to schedule your Pap test for a time when you are not having your menstrual period.
When Will I Get the Results?
It can take up to three weeks to receive Pap test results. Most results are normal. There are many reasons that Pap test results can be abnormal, and usually, it does not mean you have cancer.
Did you know that?
How can we prevent Cervical Cancer?
What can I do to protect myself from this killer disease?
Some forms of cancer such as cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccines. Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer that affects women. The vaccine that prevents cervical cancer is known as the human papilloma virus(HPV) vaccination. Let's take a look at a few things you should know about this vaccination.
What is HPV?
There are over a hundred types of HPV. While some of them affect the genital area and can cause abnormal tissue growth that leads to cervical cancer others can cause anal cancer, genital warts, skin warts, cancer of the head and neck and vaginal cancer.
When should you have the vaccination?
The human papilloma virus or HPV vaccination is most effective when administered to preteen and teenage girls. This vaccine protects them for the next ten years against the disease. One of the reasons, the HPV vaccination is given so early is that the virus can be spread easily by sexual activity. Having the vaccination early can protect them from a HPV infection. The vaccine is also said to be more effective when given to girls who have not yet been infected by a strain of HPV.
How is the vaccination given?
The HPV vaccination is given in the form of three injections spread over six months. The second dose is given two months after the first dose and the final dose is administered six months after the first dose. There is more than one name for the HPV vaccination. Gardasil and cervarix are the most common amongst these. Many doctors suggest no matter which one you choose, the same vaccination be used for all three doses.
How effective is the vaccination?
Along with protecting against cervical cancer, the HPV vaccine also protects women against vaginal, anal and oropharynx cancer. Some of the vaccines also protect against genital warts. However, the vaccination cannot be used to treat existing HPV infections and is less effective when given to women who have already been infected with a strain of the virus.
Is there anyone who should not have this vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Do not have the vaccination if you are already suffering from a severe illness. The vaccination is also not recommended for women who are allergic to yeast or latex.
What are the side effects of the HPV vaccination?
The HPV vaccination has minor side effects that may include mild soreness at the injection site, a headache or low fever. Some women may also feel dizzy or faint after the injection. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are some of the other side effects associated with this vaccination.