Cervical cancer is thankfully one of the most treatable cancers if detected early, thanks to modern medicinal technology and testing methods that are available for women these days. The sad fact is that in spite of a 100% curable tag attached to the disease, many die as the cancer does not have many symptoms that send women scurrying to a doctor and the late detection makes it impossible to retain fertility and sometimes life.
It is very important to treat cervical cancer in the early stages and prevent its occurrence and recurrence through regular checkups and appointments with a gynaecologist. Women above the age of 21 and sexually active are advised to be on alert for unnatural symptoms and any change in their reproductive health. Here are some signs to watch out for.
Early Signs Of Cervical Cancer
Though extremely difficult to detect early, you might want to look for any unnatural symptoms like increased and strong smelling discharge from the vagina, bleeding that is irregular, bleeding after intercourse, abdominal or pelvic pain etc. If these symptoms are seen on a regular basis and you suspect that there is something wrong, it is best not to delay doing a pelvic examination and undergoing a Pap smear.
Tests For Detecting Early Signs
A Pap smear that shows abnormal changes in the cervical lining indicates that you can develop cervical cancer or are susceptible to cervical cancer. However, this does not always mean that you have cervical cancer as the body’s immunity can sometimes fight off the cancer cells. The abnormal changes that are detected can be treated and removed through laser treatment, cryosurgery or conisation.
As the symptoms of cervical cancer proceed and reach the next level, there would be increased vaginal bleeding and discharge and related difficulties depending on how far the cancer has progressed. When any such symptoms surface, you must see the gynaecologist immediately and get a Pap smear done. A positive Pap smear might require the doctor to conduct further tests like a colposcopy where a device with a magnifying camera and a light is inserted. If lesions are present inside the cervix which can be seen through a colposcope, you could most probably be having cervical cancer.
A biopsy conducted on the cervical tissue can confirm the disease. The biopsy can be done through several methods like a simple biopsy when a small section of the cervical tissue is removed for lab testing, cone biopsy when a cone shaped tissue is removed using a laser knife, curettage where the cervical lining is scraped off using a spoon like apparatus etc.
Treatment For Cervical Cancer
Early stage cervical cancer is easy to treat with good recovery rate. The treatment methods employed are non invasive like a vaporisation using laser, cryosurgery which freezes the cancer cells and conisation which removes the cancer cells from the cervix. Early stage treatment will also help in preserving the fertility of the woman and offer her chances to conceive again by retaining her uterus and ovaries and preventing radiation damage to the reproductive organs.