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What is Cervical Cancer?
The entrance of the uterus is called as cervix. It connects the body of the uterus to the vagina or the birth canal. Cervical cancer begins in the cells lining the cervix, which shows early pre-cancerous changes during the development of disease. Most of the cervical cancers are caused due to Human Papillomavirus (HPV). It mostly affects sexually active women, mostly in the age group 30-45 years. Cancer of the cervix is preventable and can be detected early by regular screening and follow-up.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer rarely has symptoms in its early stages.
However, if you have any one or more of the below mentioned symptoms, we suggest you consult us immediately:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, which includes bleeding and spotting between periods, unusually longer or heavier periods, during or after sex and bleeding after menopause
Unusual or excessive vaginal discharge with foul smell
Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic pain or during sexual intercourse
However, it’s not always essential that if you’re having abnormal bleeding or pain, it will be cervical cancer. It is important to see a specialist at the earliest.
Screening of Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer can be detected early by regular screening using the two screening tests mentioned below in women aged 30-65 years:
Pap test or Pap smear that collects cells from cervix to detect any changes in the cell that could change into cancer. Every woman above the age of 30 till 65 years should go for regular Pap test every 3 years, if test results are normal.
HPV test which determines the presence of HPV infection or whether abnormal cervix cells were caused due to a cancerous HPV strain. If the result is normal, the next test can be conducted five years later. An HPV test can also be performed along with Pap test. If both the test results come negative, next co-testing can be performed five years later.
If any woman older than 65 years have had normal screening test results for several years, or had her cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, like fibroids, she need not to be screened anymore.
How is Cervical Cancer diagnosed?
If a woman has symptoms and/or abnormal Pap or HPV test results, Colposcopy, Endocervical curettage & Biopsy can be used for confirmatory diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Colposcopy: is the examination of the cervix, vagina and vulva with a colposcope, which illuminates and magnifies, allowing the cellular patterns in the epithelial layer and surrounding blood vessels to be examined.
Biopsy: Biopsy is the removal of small tissue (1-3 mm) of the abnormal areas of cervix for histopathological diagnosis.
Punch biopsy: a sharp tool is used to pinch off small samples of cervical tissue and sent for testing.
Endocervical curettage: If a woman has a positive Pap test, but no abnormal areas are observed with colposcopy, some of the surface cells are gently scraped from the cervical canal and sent to a laboratory for examination. This is called endocervical curettage.
It is often useful to determine the extent of the cancer spread thereby assist in planning management of the cancer. The imaging tests which are done includes-
MRI/CT scan of the pelvis and abdomen (with IV contrast): MRI scan is preferred over CT as it delineates the soft tissues better and detects the spread of cancer in the parametrium more effectively.
PET CT scan: Recommended if disease clinically appears advance. It detects if the cancer has spread to other organs of the body.
FIGO Staging classification are as follows:
Carcinoma in situ. Abnormal cells in the innermost lining of the cervix.
Invasive carcinoma that is strictly confined to the cervix
Locoregional spread of the cancer beyond the uterus but not to the pelvic sidewall or the lower third of the vagina.
Cancerous spread to the pelvic sidewall or the lower third of the vagina, and/or hydronephrosis or a nonfunctioning kidney that is incident to invasion of the ureter.
Cancerous spread beyond the true pelvis or into the mucosa of the bladder or rectum
Treatment for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is completely curable, if it’s diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Treatment methods may be ablative (destroying abnormal tissues by heating or freezing) or excisional (surgically removing abnormal tissues).
Five types of standard treatment are used based on
Dr. Monika Pansari
Cervical Cancer Surgeon
Dr. Monika Pansari
Cervical Cancer Surgeon in Bangalore
"Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer can be challenging. Lots of thoughts come to mind. Do Not Worry.
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I am on a mission to help Women Cancer Patients and thats why I founded Sakhi Oncology.
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