Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer: Risk factors and Complications

Cervical Cancer: the most common type of cancer in Indian Women

Cervix is at the lower end of the uterus and connects the uterus with the vagina. Cervical Cancer starts at the cervix and can later metastasize to other places or can infiltrate the neighboring cells.

Some women resist the growth of human papillomavirus when exposed to it. While, in others, the human papillomavirus survives and stays for years causing mutation of normal cells of the cervix to become cancerous.

Types

  • Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the bottom of the cervix which is lined by thin, flat cells. Squamous cell cancer is a very common type of cervical cancer.
  • Adenocarcinoma develops in the glandular cells which are present in the upper part of the cervix.

Sometimes both the types of cells of the cervix become cancerous.

Symptoms

  • Bleeding during sexual intercourse or two menstrual periods or menopause
  • Blood tainted vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Pain in pelvis
  • Rarely there is the presence of a vaginal mass
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in back and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Bleeding after Pelvic examination

Causes

Cervical cancer is caused due to mutation of normal cervical to cancerous cells. The human papillomavirus is known to mutate the cells of the cervix. Women who were known to be infected with human papillomavirus later developed cancer of the cervix.

Risk factors

The following scenarios make women at higher risk of developing cervical cancer.

  • Multiple full-term pregnancies than women who did not give birth to any child
  • Smoking
  • Girls who get physically intimate within a year of their menarche or first menstrual period.
  • Consuming oral contraceptive pills for the long-term, for more than five years.
  • Having close biological relatives with a history of cervical cancer
  • Multiple sex partners

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Complications

The complications are generally in cases of an advanced stage.

  • Pain especially during metastasis of cancer
  • Kidney ailments
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of ankles and feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in urine or haematuria
  • Blood clots as blood become thick
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding tendency
  • Fistula

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Prevention

You cannot prevent cervical cancer but can reduce the risk of developing this condition, by

  • Regular cervical screening every three years for young women between twenty-five to fifty and once in every five years for older women who are above fifty years.
  • Getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.
  • Avoid smoking tobacco.
  • Stop taking contraceptive pills for a long time.
  • Make sure you have safe sexual intercourse.
  • Avoid multiple sex partners.

The Cervix- Structure and Function

 

Cancer Hospitals and Institutes in India

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