- Cervical Cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in women.
- 88% of cervical cancer related deaths occur in Asia.
- But it is the most preventable form of cancer in women
Cervical cancer develops when cell changes in women. It starts as a pre cancerous condition called dysplasia. This can be detected by a test known as pap smear and is 100% curable. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that is spread through sexual intercourse.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Early cancer may have no signs or symptoms but could be detected by pap smear or colposcopy.
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse/ after menopause
- Irregular bleeding patterns
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (pale/watery/bloody/ foul smelling etc.)
- Advanced cases (back ache, fatigue, weight loss etc.).
Treatment depends on stage, age of patient, desire to have children etc. Early cancer can be cured by removing cancer tissue and preserving the uterus so that a woman can have children. Other treatment approaches are Radical Hysterectomy, Pelvic Exenteration, Radiation etc.
In Early stage Surgery is a common treatment method when the cancer has not spread from the cervix. Radiation therapy helps remove the any cancer cells present inside the body.
Treatment for advanced cervical cancer
When the cancer has spread beyond the cervix, surgery is not usually an option.
Doctors also refer to advanced cancer as invasive cancer, because it has invaded other areas of the body. This type of cancer requires more extensive treatment, which will typically involve either radiation therapy or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Gardasil/Cervarix are vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. Studies have shown that they appear to be effective.