Cervical Cancer: Help, Support and Overcome
Cervical Cancer Overview
Cervical cancer is the stage in which cells of the cervix grow abnormally. It begins from the cervix lining or the area joining the exocervix or the endocervix. The cervix develops pre-cancerous changes in the cells which may or may not develop into cancer. In some women, these pre cancerous cells can be eliminated without any medicines but in some cases medications are required. Changes in the cervix can be detected with a test known as Pap test. With the help of these tests, treatment can be started early and cervical cancer can be prevented. The disease occurs in middle aged women above 20 years and below 50 years of age. Two main types of cervical cancers occurs in the uterine cervix: squamous cells carcinoma. This type of cancer occurs on the surface of the exocervix where it joins the endocervix. The adenocarcinoma is a more common type of cervical cancer that occurs in the gland cells which produces mucus in the endocervix.
There could be certain types of rare cases where both the features of squamous and adenocarcinoma are found together, and these types of cancers are called adenosquamous carcinomas or mixed carcinomas.
Cervical cancer, if not treated, can cause severe problems resulting in death. Cervical cancer may spread to vagina and to the tissues surrounding the uterus. If treatment is delayed, then the cancer may spread to pelvic lymph nodes and other vital organs, and may cause kidney problems and disrupt bowel system. Major organs like liver and lungs may be seriously affected.
Help and Support for Cervical Cancer
Researchers have found that the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of this disease and is transmitted through sexual contact. Other causes may include a weakened immune system, age, sexual history, smoking, prolonged use of birth control pills, giving birth to large number of children, lack of pap test and exposure to diethylstilbestrol.
The main symptoms of cervical cancer may include weight loss, anemia, urinary problems, leakage of urine or fecal content in the vagina, vaginal bleeding, bleeding during sex or inserting diaphragm, and vaginal discharge with blood. Prevention is always the best option when compared to cure, and every women must take necessary measures to prevent cervical cancer.
Some of these precautions include undergoing regular Pap test once in every three years to detect changes in the cervical lining and quitting smoking which increases the risk of cervical cancer. HPV vaccines should be given to women annually from age group of 9 to 26 years. Women should also undertake all steps to reduce transmission of STD.
Overcome Cervical Cancer
Early diagnosis with Pap test will enable patients to bear children after treatment. For patients in the serious stages, cancer is removed by surgery making patients unable to bear children. Hysterectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are various treatments for cervical cancer.
However, each treatment has its own set of side effects. Chemotherapy makes the patients lose appetite, induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss etc. Radiation therapy makes patients experience fatigue, skin irritation, changes in urine and bowel movement. Patients with cervical cancer need support, understanding and respect for their privacy, whenever possible, by people close to the patient and must be treated in the same way as before the diagnosis.