Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers found across the world in most women. Cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that forms an opening from the vagina. Cervical cancer is easily curable, if found in a very early stage. Cervical cancer can be easily detected through a Pap test. An abnormality seen in the Pap test confirms cervical cancer in a woman. In United States, Pap test, or cervical screening is a part of routine check-up for a woman.
Most cervical cancers are caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. The virus is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact with someone who is infected by it. Adults, often get infected by HPV, one time or the other. However, not all HPV cause cervical cancer. Most times, adults who are infected by HPV get away from it on their own, without a treatment. They may not even know if they had an infection.
Abnormal cervical cells do not show symptoms of cervical cancer. The symptoms are perceived only when the cells start growing in to cervical cancer. Some of the common symptoms include:
• Abnormal bleeding from the vagina. It could be bleeding in-between menstrual periods, bleeding during or after sex, or bleeding after sex.
• Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis.
• Pain in the vagina during sex.
• Pain in the pelvic after sex.
• Abnormal vaginal discharge such as an excess discharge or a stinky discharge.
There is a treatment for every stage of cervical cancer. The treatments include:
• Hysterectomy, a surgery with the removal of pelvic lymph nodes with or without removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes.
• Radiation therapy.
The choice of aforesaid treatments depends on how much the cancer has grown. Doctors may choose to give any one treatment, or a combination of treatments. A women who has had Hysterectomy cannot conceive. However, Hysterectomy is a treatment required only during advanced stage of cancer, and a hysterectomy may not be needed, especially when the cancer is detected very early.
A Pap test can detect the changes or abnormality in cervical cells, or its chances to grow into a cancer. Thus, it is very important for women to have regular Pap tests. Regular Pap tests shows if the changes in the cells are happening constantly. Changing cervical cells or any abnormality in cervical cells can be treated, thus preventing it from turning into cervical cancer. Human Papilloma Virus vaccines, or HPV vaccines can prevent infections caused by certain type of HPV virus, which can cause cervical cancer. The best prevention method can be to avoid having multiple sex partners and using condom during sex.