Cervical Cancer affects the cervix in women. The Cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens in the vagina. Cervical cancer is often seen in women in the late 40’s or 50’s and its risk increases with age. It is the leading cause of death for women from developing countries.
The most common cause of Cervical Cancer is infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus spreads through sexual contact with a person who is carrying HPV. There are many types of HPV, but not all are cancer-causing. Smoking is an important risk factor for development of cervical cancer.
The symptoms of Cervical Cancer are not easy to catch in the early stages. Some common symptoms include abnormal bleeding from the vagina, bleeding in between menstrual periods or after intercourse; pelvic pain, and abnormal foul smelling vaginal discharge. Cervix cancer can be diagnosed by pelvic examination and Pap test. Pap test can also pick up precancerous disease, hence it is a very important test that should be done by all women regularly.
Treatment and recovery for Cervical Cancer depends on various factors like the stage, location, size, and the type of HPV. Depending on these factors, it could be treated with surgery or chemoradiation. Chemoradiation is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, and is generally used for treatment of these cancers when the disease is localised.
Early detection is very possible for cervical cancer and all women should be made aware of the same. There are now vaccines also available which lower the risk of HPV infection.