Cervical Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Today we will discuss in detail about the cervical cancer stages, cervical cancer diagnosis and cervical cancer screenings, cervical cancer prevention, types of cervical cancer and about cervical cancer ribbon and awareness. But before that we will discuss Cervical cancer in brief.

Cervical Cancer

The cancer that arises in the cervix is known as cervical cancer. It is only found in woman and occurs at the age of 10 – 20 years. It is caused by the Human papilloma virus infection. Early signs of cervical cancer and symptoms are not specified but later symptoms include vaginal bleeding, mass and discharge.  Smoking (both active and passive), hormonal pills and birth control pills also cause this type of cancer, but hpv infection is the most common cause of cervical cancer. The cervical cancer survival rate is poor in developing nations.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in women.

Cervical Cancer Stages.

Cervical Cancer stage represents, that how far the tumour has spread in the body. With the increase in number, the severity of the disease increases along with the decrease in the possibility of its successful treatment and declining of the survival rate of cervical cancer.  It varies from stage 0 that is pre-cancerous to stage 4 i.e. Non-invasive. Where it is said stage 0 is curable and stage 4 is not curable.

There are basically 4 stage of cervical cancer,  Stage 1 cervical cancer, stage 2 cervical cancer, stage 3 cervical cancer and stage 4 cervical cancer. Each stage is further divided into 2 parts i.e. A and B, which makes them Cervical Cancer stage 1A, Cervical Cancer stage 1 B and similarly other stages are also divided in the similar way.

Stage 0 Cervical Cancer

In this stage, the carcinoma is present only in the cell lining of the cervix also called CIS, cancer Carcinoma In Situ (CIS).

Stage 1 Cervical Cancer

When The Carcinoma further roots in deeper but do not spread to other parts of ths body (metastasis)  that covers the first stage of cervical cancer. Invasions are visible under microscopy

Stage 1 is subdivided as follows:

IA which is further divided as IA-1 and IA-2.

In stage IA-1 invasion is less than 3.0 mm

Whereas in Stage IA-2 the invasion is more than 3.0 mm  and less than 5.0 mm.

IB which is again further divided into IB-1 and IB-2 .  The lesion is clinically visible in stage IB-1 clinically visible lesion is less than 4.0 cm whereas in stage IB-2 the lesion is more than 4.0 cm.

Cervical Cancer Stages

Stage 2 Cervical Cancer

Cancer spreads beyond the uterus but not to the pelvic walls. It is again divided as IIA and IIB.

Stage IIA is further divided as stage IIA-1 and IIB-2.

Stage IIA is without parametrial Invasion

In stage IIA-1 the lesions is less than 4.0 cm  and in IIA-2 the lesion which is clinically visible is more than 4.0 cm

Stage IIB is with parametrial invasion.

Stage 3 Cervical Cancer

In Stage 3 the cancer extends to the pelvic walls and/ or to the lower third of vagina leading to non functioning of kidney.

In III A  it extends to the lower part of vagina but had not yet reached the pelvic walls.

In III B it extends to the pelvic walls causing hydronephrosis.

Stage 4 Cervical Cancer

In Stage 4 cervical cancer the carcinoma spreads to the pelvis and may involve mucosa of the bladder or rectum

In Stage IV A the  cancer spreads to the adjacent parts.

In Stage IV B it spreads to the distant organs.

Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

There are several methods of diagnosing cervical cancer, like cervical cancer screening biopsy etc. The pap test which may be considered as a screening test for cervical cancer, cannot be completely relied upon, as it gives false negative results for about in 50 %  of cervical cancer cases.

A biopsy of the cervix is required to detect the cancer present in the body.

This is usually done through a process called colposcopy. It is a magnified visual examination of the cervix with the help of dilute acetic acid that highlights the abnormal cells present on the surface of the cervix. Devices used for biopsy are SpiraBrush CX, punch forceps, Soft Biopsy or Soft ECC.

Other diagnostic procedures are cervical conization,  loop electrical excision etc.  The inner lining is taken off and examined pathologically. These procedures are taken up if the results of biopsy show cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

Before biopsy doctors suggest to take some imaging tests like CT Scan, MRI and ultrasound, to look for altering diseases or spreading of carcinomas to the other organs or parts.

Cervical Cancer types.

The two main types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinoma.

9 out of 10 cases are of squamous cell carcinomas,  this cancer develops in the exocervix and the cancer cells have some expressions and features of the squamous cell when viewed under the microscope.

Adenocarcinoma forms in the glandular cells that form the part of the line of the upper portion of the cervix.  They are rare as found less in number.

Metastatic cervical cancer is also found in some cases, where cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Cervical Cancer Prevention

Various guidelines have been set for the prevention of cervical cancer, and that may increase the cervical cancer survival rate, as well as early treatment, may be possible.

Examination of the cervix through the Papanicolaou test (Pap test) can help detect it as early as possible.

Pap test screenings and cervical screening in every three to five years can reduce the incidence of the occurrence of cervical cancer by 80%.

Precancerous changes if present can be cured by early preventive treatments.

The age to start the cervical screening can be 20-30 but preferably should not be before 25-30.

Screening is of no use before 25 and after 60 years as the disease rate for that age is low.

Barrier protection during sexual intercourse may also help prevent cancer or decrease its chances of occurrence. They also decrease the occurrence of other STI’s like HIV and Chlamydia.

Condoms also prove helpful in treating the precancerous changes that may be present in the cervix.

Vaccination is another preventive measure that can be counted under cervical cancer prevention.

There are two types of HPV vaccines that can reduce the risk of cervical cancer they are Gardasil and Cervarix, they can reduce the risk of occurrence of cancerous or precancerous changes taking place in cervix and perineum by about 92 % and are 100% effective in case of HPV 16 and 18 up to 8 years. These vaccination are usually given between the age of 9 to 26, because it is only effective before the occurrence of the infection.  They are effective for a minimum of 4 to 6 years, though the effectiveness or the requirement of another booster is not known.

The main cause of concern is that it is quite expensive, however many countries are trying to raise funds for the HPV Vaccination.

Nutrition intake can be another preventive measure to reduce the risk of this cancer. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, vitamin B12,  beta-carotene and vitamin E  are associated with the lower risk of cervical cancer.

So this was some basic information about Cervical cancer, hope you take a concern regarding its prevention and treatment seriously. It is the requirement of the age to be careful regarding everything and as we all know health is wealth, so its better we preserve this wealth which will help us to lead a happy life.

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