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Bid Adieu To The Fear Of Being Affected By Cervical Cancer

Updated on November 20, 2013

Cervical cancer begins at the lower portion of the womb where the uterus opens. This is one of the commonest types of cancer affecting women throughout the world. But, if women go for a Pap smear test on a periodical basis, they can detect this dreadful disease early and treat it on time.

It is the cells of the cervix's surface that are initially affected by this cancer. These cells are of two types and they are squamous cells and columnar cells. Almost all the cervical cancers originate at the squamous cells.

The precancerous condition of Cervical cancer is known as dysplasia. Dysplasia is nothing but the abnormal growth of the cells of the cervix. In general, cervical cancer does not develop very fast. If the cancer is detected early by having a Pap smear test, it can be completely cured. From this, it is very much evident that risks are quite high for those women who do not get periodical Pap smear tests carried out. Dysplasia may take many years to become cervical cancer.

Researchers have found out that cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. Entry of this virus into a woman's facilitated by sexual intercourse. HPV is of various types that are also known as strains. While a few strains cause cervical cancer, some other strains may lead to genital warts. A few other strains may not lead to any problem.

There are certain sexual habits that may cause cervical cancer in women. Especially, habits such as early-age sex, having sex with a number of partners, having sexual intercourse with one or more partners who always indulge in sexual activities that are considered highly risky may be the causes for this problem. Even smoking and use of birth-control pills may also cause this cancer. Women should get pelvic exams conducted regularly for timely detection of precancerous changes, if any, in their cervix.

The treatment options available for such precancerous changes are cryosurgery, laser surgery and cauterization. Women should carefully check if there is abnormal bleeding between monthly cycles and after having sexual intercourse. Some women may have vaginal bleeding even after their menopause. Even if they experience unbearable pelvic pain, that may also be an indication of this cancer.

Apart from a Pap smear test, the doctor may advise chest X-rays and MRI, CT and PET scans for determining how far this cancer has spread in the cervix. The treatment options for cervical cancer are much different from the treatments given for cancer in the various other parts of the womb. In general, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery are suggested for treating this cancer.

If women make it a point to have HPV vaccines such as Gardasil, Cervarix, etc., they can protect themselves from this cancer. They should not take this disease lightly because it may spread to other parts of the body like the intestines, liver, lungs and the bladder.
Doctors do not depend upon Pap smear tests alone for final diagnosis of precancerous issues or cervical cancer. They go for a procedure called colposcopy in which they examine the cervix under magnification. They remove a piece of the affected tissue and send it to the lab for biopsying or cone biopsying. If there is a suspicion that the disease is in an advanced stage, they conduct an intravenous pyelogram and a pelvis MRI.
Women should make a few lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and improving their immune system by exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods. They should have HPV vaccines on time and undergo Pap smear tests periodically for protecting themselves from this disease.


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