Cervical Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the lower uterus and has a high fatality causing cancer among women across the country, with an estimated 13,000 women suffering annually from it and as much as one-third of them believed to be fatal.
Proper cervical cancer screening can help detect changes in the cervix even before cancer develops making it possible for its early and easy cure. Unlike other forms of female cancers, cervical cancer can be detected through a Pap test. Cervical cancer screening should be made a mandatory part of the routine health check-ups for women to establish the growth of any possible abnormal cells in the cervix. Pap tests or Pap smear tests and cytology tests are the two-pronged screening for cervical cancer. With widespread awareness and screening in the US, instances of fatalities and prevalence have dropped considerably.
Cervical cancer risk factors include:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection: A growth called papillomas or warts can infect the surface of the skin along the genitals and can lead to cervical cancer. There are many types of HPV and some are high risk and can lead to cancers in cervix, vulva, and vagina. There is currently no cure but warts can be treated if spotted early
Smoking is a risk factor for many diseases and the risk of cervical cancer doubles because of smoking.
Women with a weakened immune system are likely to be infected by HPV and cervical cancer. Women’s immune system sees the new organ as foreign and tries to fight it.
Contracting a sexually transmitted disease, in particular, chlamydia infection, may raise the risk of developing cervical cancer.
For instance, low intake of fruits and vegetables, or obesity.
- Birth control
Use of intrauterine devices, long-term use of oral contraceptives are also risk factors of cervical cancer.
- Multiple pregnancies
Women who have had multiple full-term pregnancies also fall under risk for cervical cancer.
- Family history
Cervical cancer can also be hereditary. If your mother or a sibling has had cervical cancer, the chances of you developing it are higher.
It also goes without saying that there are still possible that women, who have one or more of the risk factors, can live a full healthy life without any cancerous outbreak. Same is the case where women who have no risk factors can develop cancer. Regular health checkup and leading a hygienic and healthy lifestyle can protect you from cervical cancer.
Treating cervical cancer
Treatment is based on the results of cervical cancer screening. Clinical trials are the best way for getting the best cervical cancer treatment. But its success rate varies from patient to patient and may not be ideal for everyone. Treatment for patients with cervical cancer is a combined effort by a team that includes a gynecologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and a gynecologist oncologist. Treatment options also depend on the stage of cervical cancer – starting from Stage 0 – usually termed as pre-cancer to Stage IV – where cancer has spread to other parts of the body the final stage IV B is considered as a stage beyond possible cure. Depending on the stage of cervical cancer, physicians offer a combination of treatment options varying from cone biopsy, trachelectomy, hysterectomy, surgery followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.