Falling sick can disrupt our life and make our loved ones worry about us. It could be disheartening when falling ill. It is not just an acute illness but an indication of a chronic disease that could disrupt mental peace and cause physical pain for a prolonged period.
Many patients today are suffering from a deadly chronic condition known as cancer. It not only gets worse with every stage but challenges you and your loved ones mentally at every stage.
One such damaging cancer in women is cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the hollow space that connects the women’s uterus to their vagina. Generally, cervical cancer begins in the cells at the cervix’s surface.
1/4th of women globally die of cervical cancer in India. It is the 4th most common cancer in women and 7th most common in cancer. The condition is worst in countries like Africa and India, where public health is still not accessible to all.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Most women don’t experience symptoms of cervical cancer until the late stages. Even if they share some symptoms, they can be misinterpreted for conditions like a menstrual cycle or urinary tract infections.
Below are some of the symptoms that women might experience during cervical cancer.
- Bleeding that may feel unusual such as after sex, menopause, in between periods.
- Pain while urinating
- Pain in the pelvis
- Different vaginal discharge than usual
- Need to urinate often or frequently
What are the causes of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is mainly caused by a virus that is sexually transmitted and is known as human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is also known to cause genital warts and has about a hundred different strains.
The two strains that are most commonly known for causing cervical cancer are HPV-16 and HPV-18.
Although having cervical cancer-causing strains of HPV doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get cervical cancer, as the body’s immune system eliminates most HPV within two years.
It is a prevalent infection and is known to cause other cancer as well, such as vaginal cancer, rectal cancer, throat cancer, vulvar cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer.
What are the stages of cervical cancer?
The stages of cervical cancer state the spread of cancer in the body and could help your doctor decide the best treatment option for you. It has four steps.
Stage 1: When the cancer is small, it might spread to lymph nodes and not other body parts.
Stage 2: Cancer grew larger. It might spread to the outer part of the uterus and cervix and hasn’t reached other body parts.
Stage 3: Cancer has spread to the lower part of the pelvis or the vagina. It blocks the tubes carrying urine to the bladder and the uterus and has not spread to other body parts.
Stage 4: Cancer has spread to other body organs such as the lungs or liver.
What are the treatments available for cervical cancer?
Like some cancers, cervical cancer is treatable if caught at the earliest. Some of the ways through which it can be treated are listed below.
With the use of high-energy X-ray beams, radiation kills cancer. It can be provided outside the body and the inside the body. It can be provided by the machine or internally via a metal tube placed in the vagina or uterus.
Surgery is done to remove cancer. First, doctors remove the area of the cervix that has cancer cells. If the cancer is widespread and has spread to other organs, those organs are removed too.
Targeted therapy is a drug that blocks the development of new blood vessels that help cancer cells grow and survive.
Chemotherapy is also a potent drug therapy that is used to kill cancer. It is given in cycles and then stopped to give your body enough time to recover.
Cervical cancer is a serious condition but is treatable if caught early. It can be prevented by regularly getting checked for HPV. Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing cervical cancer, currently,
A new vaccination for preventing cervical cancer has been rolled out that will be available by mid-2023 and is known as CERAVAC. Others ways to prevent cervical cancer from happening by limiting the number of sexual partners and using safe sex products such as condoms to reduce the risk of HPV infection.
If you experience any symptoms of cervical cancer, immediately consult your healthcare provider. Bansal Hospital Bhopal has a credibly functioning once-surgery department that cares for cancer patients and provides apt diagnoses and treatment.