When the lower part of the uterus gets infected and develops tumors affecting the cervix region this condition is called as cervical cancer. Among the type of cancer which affects the women population, cervical cancer is ranked third in the world, next to breast cancer and blood cancer. It begins as infection in the cells of the cervix region. Squamous cells are more affected in the cervix than the columnar cells. Initially the cells are affected and the cancer proceeds very slowly. At this stage if Pap smear is done it could be detected and treated completely. Regular Pap smear tests can prevent the growth of cervical cancer in women.
There are many types of cervical cancers but all of them are caused by a virus called human pappilloma. HPV enters the vagina through sexual intercourse. Not all the virus of HPV is harmful. Some of them may lead to the production of genital warts and some others do not create any problem. Untreated cervical cancer has the risk of spreading to various other parts of the body like bladder, intestine and lungs. Normally it takes years together for a precancerous cell to transform into cancerous cell. Prostitutes or women having sex with multiple partners are more prone to cervical cancer than others. Sometimes it is inherited when the mother takes heavy drugs like Diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy.
Cervical cancers are difficult to diagnose at early stages. It can be detected only if the cancer has advanced. Women will have vaginal bleeding or sudden bleeding after menopause. Some of them will have repeated discharge in pale pink color or bloody red which is foul-smelling. Some other common symptoms in cervical cancers are back pain, fatigue, unusual bleeding from vagina and leg pain. There will be weight loss and loss of appetite and in some cases a leg may become swollen.
Pap smear is the ideal test for diagnosing cervical cancer. Sometimes the doctor uses colposcopy method to examine the cervix. Further the doctor will ask you to take chest X-ray and CT scan to find out how far the cancerous cells have spread.
A doctor can start the treatment for cervical cancer only if he knows exactly the stage of cancer. Treatment varies widely with respect to the age, size and shape of the cancerous cells. Surgery is done to remove the cancerous tissue from the cervix. Various types of surgery is available like Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure, laser therapy and cryotherapy in which the doctor adopts various techniques for destroying the cancerous cells. Only if no other treatment is feasible hysterectomy is done for removing the uterus.