Treating Cervical Cancers
Cervical cancer, to some people, might not be a very common type of cancer, but unfortunately, it is no less dangerous. This type of cancer ranks second only after breast cancer in the number of deaths recorded globally, annually in women between the ages of 35 and 55. Though its prevalence varies from country to country, depending on, sexual activity; although this has not been medically proved, an estimated 300,000 women have different stages of cervical cancer globally.
The cause of cervical cancer is much less complicated when compared to breast cancer and by undergoing regular Pap smear screening, it is often easy to detect the cancer in its very early stages, when treatment will be more effective and less invasive. The most common cause of cervical cancer has been shown to be the human Papilloma virus (HPV) which is transmitted through sexual intercourse. This virus could induce lesions in the cells of the cervix that may progress into cancer. However, Pap smear screening can efficiently detect the earliest signs of pre-cancer changes in these cells.
Unfortunately, despite the simplicity of this cancer type, most women do not notice it until the later stages when the cancer has spread throughout the cervix and at times, to nearby organs. This could be due to the fact that the cancerous changes in the cervical cells span a long period of time and often without symptoms. While this is good on one hand, because it allows you to treat effectively the condition at the pre-cancerous stages, it is also bad, on the other hand, because it stays in the body over a very long period of time, without a form of sign/warning, wreaking havoc on the cells of the cervix and making treatment very difficult when it is finally discovered.
So, prevention and early detection very important with cervical cancer. Some medical reports say there is now a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. The vaccine is said to come in three shots and when taken in series, it is believed to be totally capable of preventing cervical cancer by raising the body’s immunity against the HPV. However, the vaccine must be taken before girls become sexually active for it to work optimally. You and I know that the best form of treatment is prevention, if you have daughters, sisters or friends that are still under sexual age, helping them get this vaccine would be the best help you can render to them. Ask your medical practitioners for more information about the vaccine.
In the early stages of development cervical cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy or radiation or sometimes, a combination of the two. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs that enter the bloodstream. These contain chemical substances that can locate and destroy cancerous cells, without harming the normal cells of the body. Though these drugs come with some adverse effects, but the body can get over these after treatment has been completed. Radiation involves the use of powerful electromagnetic waves to shrink the tumor, killing the cancerous cells in the process. During the process, other organs of the body are protected from the radiation.
However, in advanced stages of cervical cancer, surgery is usually the only alternative. Depending on how far the cancer has spread, treatment may require partial removal of the cervix and uterus, known as partial hysterectomy. This spare the ovaries and other parts of the female genitalia.
If the spread of the cancer has reached several parts of the cervix and uterus, radical trachelectomy might be the treatment alternative. This involves removal of the cervix and the lower part of the uterus with several lymph nodes in the pelvis that might have been infected. This treatment option is intended to preserve fertility.
However, in the worst cases of cervical cancer where the cancer has spread outside the uterus, radical hysterectomy is the only option. This involves removing the cervix and uterus completely, the ovaries, part of the vagina and lymph nodes in the region. This is a very radical treatment and often the last alternative when the cancer has got out of hand. Because of the hormonal value of the ovaries, removal of the ovaries often has serious health implications for the woman. Paying attention to your body, especially the cervix, regular Pap smear testing and a healthy lifestyle is all you need to ensure that you never suffer such a consequence.