What Every Woman Should Know About Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer cases are becoming rampant these days. While it is true that breast cancer is the most common cancer in the females, cervical cancer is increasing in incidence following the path of the lung cancers and breast cancer. In the United States alone, cervical cancer accounts for around 2.4 precent of all cancers in women and each year, 3,700 women die from this disease.
Who are at a higher risk to have cervical cancer?
These categories below have a higehr risk of having cervical cancers:
a. middle adult women who are 35 years old to 50 years of age.
b. women who are promiscuous, those who are having multiple sex partners like the commercial sex workers or prostitutes
c. those who have a strong family history of cervical cancers
d. those who have had a sexually transmitted disease esp. HPV or genital warts
e. those who have had sexual intercourse before the age of 18 years old.
If you belong to any of these categories, be more conscious in monitoring yourself of the abnormalities related to menstruation, ovulation and feminine discomforts. As you begin being sexually active, it is advised to have a pap smear every two years or every year depending on the risk level. Pap smear detects whether the cervix is exhibiting a certain abnormal cell changes or not. It will delineate whether there is a presence of a normal and a not so normal but harmless, and abnormal and harmful growth on the cervix.
What other symptoms should alarm me to consult an OB-GYNE?
Any women who are experiencing these kinds of symptoms should consult a specialist to be evaluated adequately.
a. presence of bleeding, spotting in unusual days not within the menstrual period. This include bleeding within or after a normal intercourse, bleeding in between periods as well as bleeding even after menopausal stage.
b. an unusual watery or bloody discharge from the vagina with an unpleasant odor, which maybe heavy and non resolving
c. Bleeding with associated pain over the lower abdomen, or back, swelling of the lower legs and at times, problems and difficulty in urination.
Can cervical cancer be cured?
Cancers can be cured completely when it is diagnosed at an early stage. It would depend on the stage of cancer, the size of the tumor as well as if there is a spread to the nearby organs such as the uterus, lymph nodes, vagina, spine and ovaries.
A radical hysterectomy can be done to a patient with cervical cancer. It involves a removal of the uterus, the cervix, the upper part of the vagina, the lymph nodes and the fallopian tubes. At other instances, it will include the ovaries, or may not include the ovaries for the younger women. Chemotherapy, which involves the use of many cancer cell killing drugs may follow after surgery.
Another alternative is the use of radiation therapy wherein a radiation can either be delivered through a machine or can be implanted internally in the uterus or in the upper portion of the birth canal. This will kill the abnormal cells and cure the cancer.