Now that we know what cervix and pap smear is, let’s go straight to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer begins with cell changes in the cervix.
The risk of developing cervical cancer is linked to infection with Human Papillomavirus or HPV. Also, women who have been diagnosed with HPV are more likely to develop this type of cancer.
Having many sexual partners or becoming sexually active early allows transmission of cancer-causing HPV. Smoking increases all kinds of cancer including cervical. A weakened immune system increases the risk for cervical cancer so is long term use of birth control pills and other STDs.
The early-stage treatment option is usually surgery when cancer has not spread from the cervix. The Doctor may also use radiation therapy if the Doctor has the reason to believe cancer cells are still present.
If cancer has spread beyond the cervix, surgery is not an option. Extensive treatment is required which includes chemo and radiation
Read: What is Cancer?
Chances of surviving cervical cancer at least 5 years in stage 1 are 98%. People with stage 4 cancer have only a 15% chance of surviving another 5 years.
Ladies be your own advocate, push for the screening if your Doctor is not offering and keep up with the screening. Guys, be on the lookout for your wives and remind them about the screening. So long as the cervix stays intact, you will be a happy man with an intact honeypot.
During the early stages, no symptoms are present. A Pap test is actually preventive and its aim is to reveal any cell changes before they develop to cancer so the person can take early actions to treat it.
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are:
- Discomfort during sex
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal discharge with a strong order or tinged with blood.
- Bleeding in post-menopausal women
NOTE: These symptoms can also indicate something else especially infection.
The treatment for cervical cancer depends on the cancer stage.
Stage 1 – Cancer cells have grown from the surface into the deeper tissues of the cervix.
Stage 2 – The cancer has moved beyond the cervix to the uterus.
Stage3 – Cancer cells are present in the lower part of the vagina or the walls of the pelvis and most likely blocking the ureters, the tubes that carry urine to the
Stage 4 – The cancer has affected the bladder and is now growing out of the pelvis. Late in stage 4, it is in lymph nodes and other organs.