Cervical Cancer – Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Cervical Cancer – Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Despite the fact that cervical cancer has been identified as the second most common cancer among women worldwide as research has consistently shown that it kills more than 300,000 women yearly. Though it can be medically prevented, even in women at high risk, but due to the ignorance and non-challant attitude of our women and the so called health worker, the reverse is the case. However, the good news is that with modern science, a small inexpensive screening could potentially save lives. Its on record that screening in United Kingdom saves over 100,000 lives every year, with premalignant diseases detected and treated in several women.

Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for. But before i proceed, i must warn that symptoms do not usually appear until abnormal cervical cells become cancerous and invade nearby tissue and when this happens the most common symptom is abnormal bleeding which starts and stop between regular menstrual bleeding periods or may occur after sexual intercourse, douching, menstrual bleeding that last longer and heavier than usual, also to note when there is increase in vaginal discharge, bleeding after menopause may also be a symptom of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer starts as abnormality of cells on cervix and if not detected early or treated, it gradually invade normal cells of the cervix and surrounding tissues or lymph nodes which eventually spreads to other parts of the body. If these lesions have not invaded normal cells of the cervix, treatment is very simple and straightforward. Pre-cancerous changes of the cervix usually do not cause pain and are not detected unless a woman takes a pelvic examination and Pap test.

Treatments – There are many ways to treat cervical cancer.

(1) Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure {LEEP} which can be performed in the doctors office under local anesthetic, where electrically charged wire loop is used to remove the outer portion of the cervix that contains the abnormal tissue.

(2) Cryosurgery can also be performed in the doctors office and this does not require an anesthetic. This procedure freezes and kills the abnormal cells of the cervix when a silver probe is placed against the cervix.

(3)Cryosurgery Hysterectomy is another treatment that I would want to mention. Here the uterus is removed through the abdomen or vagina. This is a major surgery that requires the patient staying overnight in the hospital. It is usually performed on pre- invasive lesions and sometimes for women who have had more than one relapse and no longer have enough tissue to perform another LEEP.

Treatment of invasive cancer – The extent of tumor growth always determine the treatment required and if the tumor is small and confined to the cervix tissues, then radical hysterectomy or radiation therapy may be applied. When tumors are large or extends to adjacent tissues or lymph nodes more intensive therapy is required.

Radical Hysterectomy – This is the surgical removal of the uterus, the ligaments and connective tissues that hold the uterus in place. You can also remove lymph nodes in the pelvic area with this method, if microscopic cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes and ligaments that hold the uterus. After a radical hysterectomy operation has been carried out, a woman may no longer have menstrual periods and may not be able to bear children. However, she will continue to have the female hormone estrogen in her body and with this method the cure rate of the cervical cancer is about 90%.

Radiation Therapy – Here high energy rays are used to damaged cancer cells and stop them from growing. It is a localized treatment that means it attack cancer cells at a particular area of the body. Usually the radiation is performed externally from a large machine or radioactive materials placed directly into the cervix known as implant radiation

. Chemotherapy – This involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be given by injection into a vein or by mouth,so that the drugs flow easily through the body into the bloodstream

. Biological Therapy – is usually used to treat cancer that has spread from cervix to other parts of the body. Here we use substance to strengthen a woman s immune system to better fight her cancer. Interferon is the most common form of biological therapy used to treat cervical cancer.

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