Cervical cancer (cervix) is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the cervix that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, are involved in causing most cervical cancers.
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Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Cervical cancer symptoms sometimes do not show any symptoms until the last stage. Cervical cancer may not have any symptoms in its early stages. However, as the tumor grows in size, it may cause vaginal bleeding during sexual intercourse, between menstruation or after menopause. Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that can be heavy and have a foul odor can also be a sign of cervical cancer. These complaints are not specific to cervical cancer, if you have such a complaint, it would be beneficial to consult a doctor. Apart from this, the symptoms of cervical cancer ;
- pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain in the genital area, leg and back
- Loss of appetite and weight, fatigue
- Smelly discharge and vaginal discomfort
- pain when urinating
- Swelling in one leg
What Are the Types of Cervical Cancer?
There are types of cervical cancer and knowing these types is important in the treatment process. Depending on the type of cancer, the disease is intervened. The two known species are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cervical cancer begins in the thin, flat cells (squamous cells) that line the outer part of the cervix that protrudes into the vagina. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
- Adenocarcinoma: This type of cervical cancer begins in the colon-shaped glandular cells that line the cervical canal.
Sometimes, both cell types cause cervical cancer. Rarely, cancer occurs in other cells in the cervix.
How Is Cervical Cancer Treated?
Cervical cancer treatment is carried out according to the spread of the cancer, its stage and the health status of the person. Treatment methods applied according to these factors;
In cervical cancer, a surgery to remove the tumor mass can be performed. Surgery can be done in a variety of ways. Extensive removal of the cervix, uterus (womb) and upper part of the vagina with surrounding tissue. (Radical Hysterectomy) Extensive removal of the cervix and upper part of the vagina with surrounding tissue while preserving the uterus.
It is the killing of tumor cells using radiation therapy.
In the treatment of patients with cervical cancer, chemotherapy is given to a lesser extent in addition to radiation therapy.
What are Cervical Cancer Risk Factors?
When the risk factors for cervical cancer are known, the risk of developing this cancer decreases. Therefore, women need to know what causes this type of cancer and what the risk factors are. Cervical cancer causes and risk factors are as follows;
- Many sexual partners: Your chance of contracting HPV is directly proportional to the number of sexual partners you and your partner have.
- Early sexual activity: Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.
- Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Having other STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS increases your risk of HPV.
- A weakened immune system. If your immune system and health are weakened, you may be more likely to develop cervical cancer.
- To smoke. Smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.
- Exposure to a miscarriage prevention drug. If you took a medicine called diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant, your risk of cervical cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma may be increased.
How Can You Prevent Cervical Cancer?
Service cancer can be prevented or at least reduced risk factors by some measures. U measures;
- Ask your doctor about the HPV vaccine. Getting the vaccine to prevent HPV infection can reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. You should ask your doctor if the HPV vaccine is right for you.
- Get routine Pap tests. Pap tests detect cervical precancerous conditions, so they can be monitored or treated to prevent cervical cancer. Most medical organizations recommend starting routine Pap tests at age 21 and repeating them every few years.
- Have safe sex. Reduce your risk of cervical cancer by taking precautions to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as using a condom with every sexual intercourse and limiting the number of sexual partners.
- Do not smoke. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit.
Other Things to Know
During the treatment of cervical cancer, you are expected to strictly follow the recommendations and warnings of your doctor. Apart from this, you should share with your doctor every point you have about your treatment and possible side effects.
Cancer treatment is a special situation that can be very tiring for both patients and physicians, and current information indicates that cervical cancer treatment by Gynecological Oncology Surgery Specialists, who have received special training in this regard, gives the best results.
Dr. Derman Başaran is a physician who has been dealing with only female cancers and related conditions for more than 10 years and has received training and served in top-level institutions both at home and abroad.
When the specialist physicians in a clinic only deal with female cancers, the care and treatment success of the patients is at the highest level. For the most successful results in the treatment of your disease, make sure that there are gynecological oncology surgery specialists in the center where you are treated.
Can I Conceive Again After Cervical Cancer Treatment?
Some patients treated for cervical cancer are able to preserve their reproductive ability after treatment. However, patients should indicate their wishes to their physicians at the beginning of the treatment.
What will happen after the end of the treatment? Is Recheck Necessary?
Patients treated for cervical cancer are followed closely for at least five years after treatment ends. The frequency of follow-up is once every 3 months in the first 2 years, then it decreases to every 6 months. During each follow-up, you are examined by your physician and your cervical smear test is performed. If your doctor deems it necessary, he may also request additional tests such as tomography or ultrasound.
What to Do If Cervical Cancer Recurs or Spreads to Other Parts of the Body?
If your disease recurs, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery options can be used.