Cervical cancer refers to the type of cancer that spreads through abnormal cells, which may be found in the lining of the cervix. This affects the lower part or the womb of the body. This may also be medically known as the uterine cervix. This kind of cancer is considered one of the most preventable ones. There are various kinds of screening tests that can help in early detection so that the symptoms become clear and the problem can be treated before the cancer spreads or malignancy sets in.
Read on to know more about the various screening measures that can help in treating and preventing the same.
- Pap smear test: This is one of the most recommended and easiest tests conducted for cervical cancer screening. The pap smear test is recommended for all women who have been through child birth. In this form of screening, the doctor usually takes a sample from the cervix of the patient. This will be then be put through a lab test to find any kind of anomalies in the cells of the cervix. This test is also strongly recommended on an annual basis for women who are going through menopause, as this is the time when the cells undergo maximum changes.
- HPV test: The HPV test can be conducted along with the pap smear test so as to find out if the HIV virus is active as well.
- Pelvic exam: In order to conduct screening for cervical cancer, the doctor may also ask the patient for a pelvic exam. In this test, the doctor checks the various areas like the uterus, the cervix and ovaries so as to ensure that there are no anomalies and irregular changes in these areas or organs of the body. This exam can help the doctor in finding any changes that may point at the risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Reading the test results: The doctor will usually take a look at the test results before making a clear diagnosis and recommending a course of medication or other kinds of treatment so as to prevent the spread or onset of cancer. For cases where this type of cancer has already progressed to a great degree, the doctor will usually recommend chemotherapy as well as radiation and sometimes, even surgery.
When should you get a screening test done?
Once you are above 21 years of age or have had a baby, it is imperative to get a screening test done at least annually. It is also important to get this done once a year if you are going through menopause. The doctors may ask you not to go through a test, if your previous three tests have been clear.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!