The cervix is part of a woman's reproductive system. It's in the pelvis. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb).
Cervical cancer is a cancer arising from the cervix. It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb). This is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The 2 main types of cells covering the cervix are squamous cells (on the exocervix) and glandular cells (on the endocervix). These 2 cell types meet at a place called the transformation zone. The exact location of the transformation zone changes as you age and if you give birth. Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer.
TYPES: The main types of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
Adenocarcinomas are cancers that develop from gland cells. Cervical adenocarcinoma develops from the mucus-producing gland cells of the endocervix and it seems to have become more common in the past 20 to 30 years.
CAUSES: Causes and risk factors for cervical cancer have been identified which includes Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, having many sexual partners, smoking, weak immune system, taking birth control pills, and engaging in early sexual contact.
SYMPTOMS: Later symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding,increased vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse. Bleeding after sex may be not serious; however, may also be due to cervical cancer. Symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include: loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, pelvic pain, back pain, leg pain, swollen legs, heavy vaginal bleeding, bone fractures, and/or (rarely) leakage of urine or feces from the vagina.
- Screening: Checking the cervix by the Papanicolaou test, or Pap smear, for cervical cancer has been credited with dramatically reducing the number of cases of and mortality from cervical cancer in developed countries. Pap smear screening every 3–5 years with appropriate follow-up can reduce cervical cancer incidence by up to 80%. Liquid-based cytology is another potential screening method. It was probably intended to improve on the accuracy of the Pap test, its main advantage has been to reduce the number of inadequate smears from around 9% to around 1%.. According to the 2010 European guidelines, the age at which to start screening ranges between 20–30 years of age, "but preferentially not before age 25 or 30 years".
- Vaccination: Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, are available to prevent HPV infection. HPV vaccines are typically given to women age 9 to 26 as the vaccine is only effective if given before infection occurs. However the high cost of this vaccine is a cause for concern. I wish countries will consider various programs to fund HPV vaccination and affordable for those in need.
- Nutrition: Vitamin A is associated with a lower risk, as is vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Lets try and eat healthy. Eating well is important before, during, and after cancer treatment. You need the right amount of calories to maintain a good weight. You also need enough protein to keep up your strength. Eating well may help you feel better and have more energy.
- Condom: Condoms are thought to offer some protection against cervical cancer. Evidence on whether condoms protect against HPV infection is mixed, but they may protect against genital warts and the precursors to cervical cancer. They also provide protection against other STIs, such as HIV and Chlamydia, which are associated with greater risks of developing cervical cancer. If you ask me total abstinence is the best. Be faithful to your partner. When we hear that someone has cervical cancer the first thing that comes to our mind is that the woman has been sleeping around. yes but that is one way of seeing it because the woman can equally be infected if the husband sleeps around too. Be faithful to your partner and if you insist on sleeping around kindly put her interest first and use condom when next you want to 'play' with her.
- Treatment: Treatment options for women with cervical cancer are...Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, A combination of these methods. Please these treatments are not cheap as of today so i will suggest you follow the saying "Prevention is better than Cure'.
Cervical cancer is both the fourth most common cause of cancer and deaths from cancer in women. In 2012, it was estimated that there were 528,000 cases of cervical cancer, and 266,000 deaths. It is the second most common cause of female specific cancer after breast cancer accounting for around 8% of both total cancer cases and total cancer deaths in women. Sadly, approximately 80% of cervical cancers occur in developing countries.
Some of us have lost dear as a result of this and some are still been nursed. Our hearts and prayers are with those passing through this tough time.
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Credit: Medicinenet, Cancer.org