This type of cancer is normally affects women as the name suggests,it attacks the female reproductive tract specifically the cervix which is the neck of the uterus;the bridge between the birth canal (vagina) and the uterus.
Studies have linked cervical cancer to HPV(Human papilloma virus), a sexually disease infection. The HPV is normally transmitted from men who are largely unaffected(they are carriers)during unprotected sex. The disease takes time to grow and when it happens, the cells of the cervix grow abnormally and invade other tissues and organs of the body. When it is invasive,the disease affects the deeper tissue of the body like the vagina,lungs,liver,bladder and rectum.
Cervical cancer is slow in progression at its early stages and as such,it is possible to prevent if detected early and treatment commenced immediately . A majority of the patients diagnosed with precancerous changes in the cervix are in their 20s and 30s while the average age of women when they are diagnosed with with cervical cancer is in the mid 50s. This points to a crucial point;it takes years for the disease to progress.
Early sexual contact ,multiple sexual partners and taking the oral contraceptive pills increases the risk of cervical cancer because because they lead to greater exposure to HPV(usually found in the sexual fluids of men)
However,HPV does not just affect the cervix but has been linked to other cancers involving the vulva,vagina,penis,anus,tongue and tonsils. Cigarette smoking is another risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. The chemicals in cigarettes smoke interact with the cells of the cervix ,causing precancerous changes that may over time progress to cancer. The risk of cervical cancer in cigarette smoker is two to five times that of the general population . Oral contraceptives mean that a woman will not push her partner/s to wear a condom and when this goes on for more than five years,it may increase the risk of cervical cancer(her cervix will regularly be in contact with semen,the chief carrier of the HPV)
Cervical cancer may not show symptoms until it has escalated to dangerous stages, however,the following symptoms are an indication that all is not well:
*Abnormal vaginal discharge
*Kidney failure due to urinary tract or bowel obstruction when cancer is advanced
Women who are sexually active are advised to take the pap smear test at least once a year. Recent research has availed a vaccine for this type of cancer; it is more effective when administered before sexual debut. In addition to the pap smear,there is Colposcopy which is a procedure similar to pelvic exam. The examination uses type of a microscope called a Colposcope to inspect the cervix.
Medical intervention for cervical cancer include the use of the laser ablation where a laser beam is applied either specific areas of the cervical tissue or a whole layer of tissue at the surface of the cervix. The laser destroys these cells;leaving healthy cells in their place.
In some cases,hysterectomy or the removal of the emender uterus is done especially on women who do not plan to have more children in future or those who are passed their menopause
Cryocautery which involves the use of steel instruments cooled to subzero temperatures by immersion in liquid nitrogen or a similar liquid . This ultra-cooled instrument is then applied to the surface of the cervix ,freezing the cells the cells. They eventually die and are sloughed off,to be replaced by new cervical cells. Other medical intervention measures include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Radiotherapy can either be internal or external. Internal radiotherapy is a procedure where a radioactive capsule is placed at the cervix thus killing the cancer cells and tumours from close quarters while external radiotherapy uses a large machine that focuses the beam on the pelvic region.
Like many cancers,cervical cancer is related to both lifestyle and genetic predisposition.
Disclaimer: the principles contained here is not designed nor meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is only achieved for educational confidences only. You should recognise full responsibility for the way you decide on to use this information.
Tags: Cancer, Cancer Survivors, Cancer Warriors, Cervical Cancer.
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