What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer is a form of cancer that grows from the cervix and spreads to other parts of the body. They cause the cells in the body to grow rapidly and out of control. This form of cancer grows from the cervix. So, all women are at risk of cervical cancer, especially those above 30. The cervix connects the birth canal to the upper region of the uterus or womb. However, it occurs mostly in women that have suffered some form of infection such as HPV (Human Papillomavirus). HPV is a form of STD that is transferred from one person to the other during sex, and at least 40% of sexually active women would contact the HPV at least once in their lifetime. Therefore you can significantly reduce your chances of developing Cervical cancer if you can detect and treat HPV quickly. You can also get immunized against HPV to reduce your chances of contacting it.
Types of cervical cancer
There are different types of cervical cancer, and the type that you have would help in determining the treatment and your prognosis. The major type of cervical cancer that can affect you are Adenocarcinomas and Squamous cell carcinomas, but sometimes they both can affect a patient.
- Adenocarcinoma. This is a type of cervical cancer that starts in the column-shaped glandular cells that line the cervical canal. This type of cancer occurs in about 20% of all Cervical cancer cases
- Squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cervical cancer starts in the thin, flat cells (squamous cells) lining the outer part of the cervix, which projects into the birth canal (virginal). Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, and they account for 80% of cervical cancer cases.
There are lots of risk factors, but the major once include
Weakened immune system. Your chances of developing cervical cancer may be higher If you have a weakened immune system. The weakened immune system can be caused by exposure to HPV or other forms of illness.
Many sexual partners. HPV has the potential of weakening your immune system, and having many sexual partners exposes you to a higher risk of contacting HPV.
Early sexual life. Having sex at an early age greatly increases your chances of contacting HPV which in turn can weaken your immune system
Smoking. Smoking is known to cause squamous cell cervical cancer disease
Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STI such as gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, Chlamydia can significantly increase your risk of contracting cervical cancer
The exact cause of cervical cancer is unknown; however, HPV plays a vital role. Environmental factors and lifestyle are also responsible for Cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer begins when normal healthy cells in the cervix begin to mutate (Change) in their DNA. The DNA is responsible for giving instructions to the cell on what to do. Normal and healthy cells would multiply at a defined rate and also die off at a particular time. However, when the cells begin to mutate, they grow out of control, irregularly and would refuse to die. This would cause an accumulation of abnormal cells, which leads to a tumor. These cancerous cells would then begin to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.
There are ways you can reduce your risk of cervical cancer, they include
- Routine Pap tests. Pap tests can detect when cervical cancer is about to develop. Therefore you can monitor your cervix and carry out treatment before they develop cancerous cells. Pap tests should be carried out at the age of 21 and conducted from time to time.
- HPV vaccine. You should ask your doctor about HPV vaccination and get vaccinated. This would greatly reduce your risk of contacting Cervix cancer.
- Safe sex and limit sexual partners: Having multiple sexual partners can greatly reduce your risk of contacting Cervix cancer. You should also practice safe sex by using condoms
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can greatly increase your risk of cervical cancer; therefore, you should avoid smoking. Others include given birth to many children, using oral contraceptives,
There are different types of treatment available for cervical cancer. Some treatments are standard, while others are still being tested. Treatment of Cervical cancer depends on some factors, which include:
- The type of cervical cancer.
- The patient’s age.
- The stage of cancer.
- The patient’s desire to have children.
Available treatment options include:
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
Treatment for pregnant mothers:
Treatment of cervical cancer during pregnancy depends on the stage of the pregnancy and also the stage and type of cervical cancer. For cases that are found early or found during the last trimester of the pregnancy, the treatment would most likely be delayed until after the child is born.
Learn more from CDC here.