Most of us have heard about cervical cancer once in our lives, but only a few know what kind of cancer it is. So, let’s dig a bit deeper to learn about this kind of cancer. Cervical cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cervix cells — the lower area of the uterus that links to the vagina. Cervical cancer is a typical kind of cancer prevailing in women rapidly and is the reason for infections by the HPV virus.
Cervix is a part that contributes a significant role in the reproductive system and obtrudes into the vagina. The inner part or canal of the cervix is known as the cervical canal, and it can be categorized into two different categories: ectocervix and endocervix. Endocervix is the nearer part to the uterus, and its upright epithelial cells manage mucus production. Ectocervix is ceaseless with the vagina and is encircled by fully grown squamous epithelial cells. This may help learn the kinds of cervical cancer later.
According to Dr. Mark D’Andrea, the HPV virus causes cervical cancer that can be sexually passed on; however, the immune system safeguards the body from such a dangerous virus.
What Causes Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer initiates from the cervix part, which is situated in the bottom of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is always a subject of curiosity that what causes cervical cancer? So, human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. This infection is prevalent and may not cause acute symptoms, resulting in cervical cancer in a few cases. Frequent pap tests can identify transformations in the cervical cells before they develop as cancer.
No prominent symptoms are detected in the early stage of cervical cancer, but symptoms begin to appear in the post-stage of cervical cancer. Now, the question arises, what causes cervical cancer besides HPV? So, another reason that causes cervical cancer is the abnormal ballooning of cells on the cervix.
Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Females with pre-cancers and initial stage cervical cancers typically have no signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms generally have no major significance until cancer gross larger and outspread into surrounding tissue, but when they turn into cervical cancer, the severe symptoms may include:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after achieving menopause, bleeding post having vaginal sex, spotting and bleeding after periods, or having menstruations that are heavier or longer than usual
- An abnormal vaginal discharge− the vaginal discharge may incorporate some blood and may happen during your periods or after having menopause.
- Extreme pain while having sex.
- Chronic pain in the pelvic area
Symptoms of cervical cancer in females identified with the more advanced disease can include:
- Ballooning of the legs
- Difficulty in urinating or pooping
- Blood in the urine
The above signs and symptoms can also occur due to situations other than cervical cancer. However, if you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, consider visiting a doctor or health care provider right away. Neglecting these symptoms may enable cancer to develop and spread to a higher stage and reduce the possibility for effective treatment. To increase the prospects of treatment success, you are advised not to wait for symptoms to appear. Take frequent screening tests for cervical cancer.
Cancer is a severe illness in which deadly (cancer) cells develop in the flesh of the cervix. Human papillomavirus (HPV) cervical cancer is most prevalent in women. Generally, women can’t spot any signs or symptoms of early cervical cancer, but they can be spotted early with punctilious check-ups.
In post-stage cervical cancer, the most common symptoms include pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. Check-ups that test the cervix are used to spot and diagnose cervical cancer. Some specific factors influence prognosis (possibility of recovery) and treatment options. This kind of cancer is a malignant disease in which tumor (cancer) cells develop in the tissues of the cervix.
The cervix is the part situated below the uterus in the female body. It is the narrow end of the uterus (the pear-shaped, hollow organ where a fetus develops and grows). The cervix starts from the uterus and connects to the vagina (birth canal).
When it comes to the anatomy of the female reproductive system, the organs in the woman’s reproductive system include the ovaries, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and vagina. The uterus part has a thick outer lining known as the myometrium and the endometrium’s inner layer. Cervical cancer typically grows steadily over time. Prior to the tumor occurring in the cervix part, the tissues of the cervix face unexplained changes called dysplasia, in which unusual cells start appearing in the cervical cells. Over time, the distinctive tissues may turn into cancer cells and spread more deeply into the cervix area and neighboring areas. This type of cancer mostly appears in women.
Cervical cancer is rare in children. Most women aged above 50 have risk factors for developing cervical cancer. Anything that raises the possibility of catching a disease is known as a risk factor. If you have a risk factor, it does not mean that you will indeed develop cervical cancer. On the contrary, not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not develop cancer. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor or health provider, even if you are at risk of growing cervical cancer or not.
How to Prevent Cervical Cancer Naturally
When it comes to cervical cancer, people are always curious to know how to prevent cervical cancer naturally. On this, you must receive several free advice. But neither every piece of advice would work for you, nor any advice can assure you to prevent you from developing cervical cancer. However, developing these simple habits may help reduce your risk for cervical cancer.
- Don’t smoke or limit your smoking habits.
- Don’t give birth to many children.
- Restrict your number of sexual partners.
- Use condoms during sex.
HPV or human papillomavirus infection can develop in both male and female genital parts that are protected or covered by a latex condom and also in areas that are not protected. While the impact of condoms in stopping HPV infection is unrevealed, the use of condoms has been linked with a down rate of cervical cancer.
Two screenings can help stop cervical cancer from developing or detect it early-
- The Pap smear or Pap test detects pre-cancers or cell changes that occurred on the cervix layer that might result in cervical cancer if it doesn’t get treated properly.
- The HPV test or Pap smear also looks for the human papillomavirus that majorly causes these cell changes.
Such screenings can be performed in a doctor’s clinic or office. In case you earn very little or do not have health insurance coverage, you may get the benefit of low-cost or free screening tests with the help of the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection scheme.
Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is prevailing in women rapidly. This type of cancer initially shows no symptoms, so it’s pretty difficult to detect it in the early stages. Also, it is difficult to find tips on how to prevent cervical cancer with HPV. So, it’s better to see if you have risk factors for developing cervical cancer. The risk factors for cervical cancer include:
- Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- HPV is the primary risk factor for developing cervical cancer.
- Exposure to the drug DES in the mother’s womb
- Excessive use of oral contraceptives (“the Pill”) for a long time
Some more risk factors maximize the risk of HPV infection:
- Having a debilitated immune system is caused by immunosuppression. Immunosuppression debilitates the body’s potential to fight infections and diseases. The body’s potential to beat HPV infection may be reduced by long-term immunosuppression from:
- Being infected with HIV or human immunodeficiency virus
- Taking medicine to stop organ rejection after a transplant
- From being sexually active at a very young age
- By having sex with many partners
- The elderly are the significant risk factor for most cancer types. As you get older, the possibility of getting cancer maximizes.
As per a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, condoms usage minimizes the risk of HPV by 70 percent, providing way better safety than the HPV vaccine doses and eschewing HPV vaccine side effects. The prevention of cervical cancer vaccine is crucial.
People can also select to eschew other extreme-risk factors for recurring HPV infections linked with the maturing of cervical cancer, like exposure to HIV & Chlamydia, smoking, and excessive oral contraceptives.
How to Identify Cervical Cancer?
As we have discussed so far, cervical cancer does not show any symptoms in the initial stage; the symptoms appear when it becomes more prevalent. In the pre-stage, the malignancy is carried within the cervix area. Afterward, it might begin spreading to other body areas, including the gallbladder, liver, vagina, and rectum.
Nowadays, cervical cancer is rapidly developing in women, but it can be prevented due to the available vaccination and screenings. At the same time, frequent screening tests are necessary to detect cancer growth. There are other symptoms that women generally neglect as they look like symptoms of an irregular period cycle, a yeast infection, a UTI, or urinary tract infection.
Keep an eye on these six alert signs of developing cervical cancer, and if you observe any of them, immediately consult your gynecologist:
Excessive Vaginal Bleeding: Heavy bleeding is one of the common symptoms of cervical cancer. It usually happens when the tumor grows to the surrounding tissue. Females typically think such excessive bleeding is normal. However, it’s necessary to see your gynecologist if you are experiencing any kind of abnormal vaginal bleeding, be it after a pelvic exam, sexual intercourse, menopause, or bleeding resulting in dizziness and fatigue.
Abnormal Vaginal Discharge: Although vaginal discharge is very normal, the kind of discharge you are having could be a sign of vaginal health. With cervical cancer, you may experience discharge that is horrible-smelling and brown, pink, or bloody in color. At times, the discharge may include necrotic material or a stack of tissue resulting from infection of the cancers, producing a foul-smelling discharge. If there’s a ceaseless discharge that is watery brown, pale, or combined with blood, don’t wait for so long and meet your gynecologist immediately.
Unusual Weight Loss: Pretty similar to other cancer symptoms, decreased appetite combined with unusual weight loss is also experienced during cervical cancer. It needs more attention if you didn’t make any changes in your diet recently, but still, your weight is dropping drastically, then it could be a red alert. This kind of weight loss is generally combined with fatigue and could be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
Pain During Sexual Intercourse: if your cervical cancer is in its forward stages, women suffering from it might agonize pain during sex. This extreme pain during sexual intercourse is termed “dyspareunia.” It is prominently experienced due to cancer growing in the cervix area and surrounding area. It can spread in different reproductive sites and influence your sexual activity, including your libido, which can cause anxiety during sex.
Lower Back or Pelvic Pain: Extreme pain in the pelvic region or lower back is typically a sign of changes in the cervix. Women who have cervical cancer may experience continuous pelvic pain if the cervical cancer is upgraded and has grown to the bladder, lungs, intestines, or liver. One might also feel leg pain or back pain. Consult your gynecologist to identify cervical cancer or possible nerve damage.
Difficulty in Bowel Movements: Extreme pain and incontinence while urinating or bowel movements could indicate cervical cancer spreading to the kidneys, colon, or gallbladder. These cancers make physical pressure which chunks the sites and allows easy bowel movements. Again, these indications show up in the later stages of cervical cancer.
Reports indicate that the survival rate of cervical cancer is much higher (around 80 percent) if detected in the early stage. If you are facing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, consult a doctor immediately. Visit University Cancer Centers to get immediate and better treatment for cervical cancer and a combination of excellent ambiance and friendly medical staff.