Cervical Cancer ranks 4th on the list of most common cancers affecting women globally and 2nd amongst Indian women. It is gynecological cancer, which means that it only affects women. In the majority of cases, the symptoms are silent and become evident when cancer has progressed. The highest incidence of Cervical Cancer is seen in women in the age group of 35 to 44 years. Cervical Cancer accounts for 16.5 percent of all cases of cancer among Indian women.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer, as the name suggests, is cancer that originates from the cells of the cervix, i.e., the narrow canal found at the lower end of the uterus, where it connects with the upper part of the vagina. HPV (human papillomavirus) happens to be the leading cause of cervical cancer, accounting for nearly 95 percent of all cases. Most cervical cancers are slow growing, however, there are some that can be extremely aggressive, such as small-cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma happen to be the most common types, with the former accounting for 70 percent of the cases and the latter accounting for 25 percent.
What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
The classic symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which may be experienced:
Patients may also experience the following:
When should you see a Specialist?
It is advisable to see a specialist as soon as you detect any of the above-mentioned symptoms. All these just point towards the possibility of you having cervical cancer but are not definitive. In order to confirm whether a patient has cervical cancer or not, doctors perform some physical examinations and tests. The sooner you consult a specialist, the quicker the diagnosis will be, leading to better treatment outcomes.
What causes Cervical Cancer?
There is no specific cause that can be pinpointed and it can be the result of several factors that can disrupt the normal functioning of the DNA, leading to abnormal cell reproduction. These malignant cells continue to build up in the body and lead to the formation of a cancerous mass, known as a tumor. Factors that are known to cause such changes in the DNA to include:
Modalities used for the diagnosis of Cervical Cancer
Treatment options available for Cervical Cancer
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