Cervical cancer is an abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the cervix which connects the uterus and the vagina.
The exact causes are not known but some risk factors are:
- Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
- HIV infection
- Certain STDs like chlamydia infection, gonorrhea, syphylis
- Prolonged use of oral contraceptives
- Multiple pregnancies
Symptoms are not present during the early stages. Later stages include:
- Vaginal bleeding other than during menstruation
- Painful intercourse
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Back and pelvic pain
- Leakage of urine and feces
Treatment varies from patient to patient. It includes one or a combination of the following:
- Chemotherapy: This involves injecting drugs to control and destroy the cancerous cells.
- Surgery: It includes various types like conization, hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, radical hysterectomy, pelvic exenteration, cryosurgery, laser surgery and LEEP.
- Radiation therapy: This can be used in case surgery alone is not enough to remove the cancer.
- Getting a regular pap smear done and following up on abnormal pap smears.
- Not having multiple sexual partners and using a condom
- Quit smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
- Getting the HPV vaccine