Cervical Cancer

 

Cervical cancer is an oncological disease characterized by the appearance of cells  that multiply chaotically at level of cervix. The cervix is the first part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.

Causes

Cervical cancer is caused by cellular abnormalities that occur in the cervix. At first, cell abnormalities occur in the cervix because the area is subjected to constant cyclic changes depending on menstruation.

In this physiological process, there are chances that the resulting cells to mutate, thus favouring the appearance of abnormal cells. In case of infection with Human Papilloma Virus (sexually transmitted virus), the risk of developing cancer increases. In fact, there are several risk factors that can influence the occurrence of this deadly disease:

  • smoking ( is found on the top of the list, being even more dangerous if the woman smoked for a longer period of time)
  • HIV infection (which means a deficient immune system caused by infection with AIDS)
  • combination of oral contraceptives and HPV infection, namely Human Papilloma Virus infection (administration of hormonal treatment for periods longer than 5 years)

Symptoms associated with cervical cancer

At first, the disease is asymptomatic, being most easily detected with the help of the  Papanicolaou test. Once the cancerous process is installed, there are a number of symp-toms.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • pain during intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • abnormal vaginal discharge, present in large amounts and sometimes mixed with small amounts of blood
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding, or significant changes in the menstrual cycle
  • bleeding from the cervix during intercourse or when inserting the diaphragm

In the case of advanced cervical cancer, symptoms change as follows:

  • anemia appears due to uncontrollable blood loss
  • pelvic pain, pains in the the legs or lower back occur
  • abnormal communication between the vagina and rectum, a condition called "vaginal fistula."

This  occurs because of the expansion of cancer to adjacent tissues.

- weight loss (several kilos/pounds in a few weeks, months).

The evolution of cervical cancer can result in affecting the nearby tissues and or-gans. Once the metastases appear, tumours in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, intestines and liver can be be identified. Sometimes, it can degenerate in bone metastases. The doctor is only one capable to analyse the extension or generalisation of this deadly disease and then, decide how to approach its treatment.

Sexual behaviour increases the risk of cervical cancer by:

  • sexual contact before the age of 18 years,
  • unprotected sex, which increases the risk of infection with HPV,
  • more than 3 lifetime sexual partners,
  • sexual contact with a partner who has had multiple sex partners.

Profile investigations that are required:

  • colposcopy and cervical biopsy (in order to determine the exact location of cancer cells)
  • endocervical biopsy (to determine if the cells considered malignant are present in the cervical canal)
  • conization diagnose and resection with diathermic loop, aiming to harvest cervical tissue for examination under a microscope.

To assess the stage of the cancer process, the following investigations are neces-sary:

  • full homoleucograma
  • biochemistry blood tests
  • resection with diathermic loop (to see how the extent of the cancer)
  • hysteroscopic
  • cystoscopy
  • proctoscopy
  • urography
  • chest fluoroscopy

Once diagnosed, cervical cancer can be treated by:

  • surgical therapy, meant to remove the tumor
  • radiation therapy used to treat other organs affected by the tumor
  • chemotherapy, used in the treatment of metastases

Treatment of Cervical Cancer in Pregnant women

Pregnant women are treated the same as those who are not  pregnant. If it is a cancer in its early stages, the treatment can be delayed until after birth. In this case, vagi-nal birth is possible, but doctors recommend mostly cesarean birth. In advanced stages of cancer, premature birth or even miscarriage can occur.

Maintenance Treatment

The recovery period is very important because its purpose is to prevent recurrenc-es. Emotional state plays a crucial role in the manner in which the patient manages to overcome this difficult period. Besides individual recovering, the patient needs advice from the oncologist, gynecologist.

Regular medical check-ups are needed, namely:

  1. complete pelvic examination and Papanicolaou cytology examination every 3 months in the first 2-3 years after the diagnosis,
  2. gynecological exam and  Papanicolaou test( PAP test) every 6 months after the first 2-3 years from diagnosis,
  3. other medical exams, if your doctor has determined that cancer cells have spread to oth-er organs.

Complementary Therapies.

These therapies should not be regarded as a substitute for the standard therapies used in the treatment of cervical cancer. Before starting such a treatment, you should dis-cuss with your doctor about any side effects that it may have on the cancer. Here are some complementary therapies such:

Source: http://www.csid.ro

 

 

                               

             
 
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