Cervical Cancer - Symptoms - Causes & Diagnosis
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the third most common type of gynecological cancer after ovarian and uterine cancer. Uterine cancer is most common in women between the ages of 35 and 44. These age ranges were determined as 24.2% in the 35 to 44 age range, 17.6% in the 55 to 64 age range, and 10.7% in the 65 to 74 age range, respectively. Cervical cancer, seen before the age of 35, constitutes 13.8% of all cervical cancer cases. Cervical cancer begins in the cells that have formed the linings that will cover the inner parts of the uterus, called the uterine mucosa.
The starting point of cervical cancer is the canal that will connect the uterus and the uterus. With the proliferation of cancerous cells in these regions, it is also called cervical cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Most cancer in the cervix (99.7%) is caused by HPV human papillomavirus-HPV. There are more than 80 types of HPV that cause cancer. Of these, 15 are in the high-risk group.
The HPV virus, which can be transmitted sexually, causes infections in the cervix region. If these infections are not intervened in a timely and appropriate place, or if your immune system is insufficient to clear these infections, viruses can cause cancer by causing changes in cell structures. But this does not mean that all people who are carriers of the HPV virus will get cancer.
Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse is the most common symptom of cervical cancer. In addition, bleeding that may occur outside of menstrual periods may indicate cancer. Also, bleeding that may occur after menopause should be controlled by a specialist.
Staining that may occur in the laundry between menstrual periods, heavier than regular periods, longer than normal periods, clear water-like discharges, bleeding that can be experienced after bathing, and odorous discharges do not always mean cervical cancer. It is better to see a specialist get a diagnosis. With the progression of cancer in the cervix, it begins to damage the uterus and surrounding tissues.
How Should Cervical Cancer Be Diagnosed?
Abnormalities in Pap test results are often the first signs of cervical cancer. The Pap test is a test that should be done regularly in women over the age of 18. A sample should be taken from the uterus with the help of a particular rod, and the sample should be examined in the laboratory environment. In addition to the pap tests, which examine the abnormal cell formations in the cervix, there is also the HPV test, which determines the presence of viruses known to cause cancer in the cervix. Pap tests and HPV tests are usually combined tests. In the presence of abnormal cell formations resulting from the smear test, the cervix and vagina should be examined through a particular instrument colposcope. With this method, called colposcopy, your doctor examines the mouth and surfaces of the uterus very clearly. If an abnormal formation is detected in these areas, a sample should be taken from them and sent for examination. The colposcopy procedure is generally painless. Although it is painless, taking a sample for biopsy may cause pain and cramps in some women. Different methods such as endocervical curettage and cone biopsy are used if it is impossible to examine the entire uterus and take tissue samples in the colposcopy method. If the biopsy detects the cervix, additional tests should be done to see if the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body. These tests are; intravenous urography, CT scan, and MRI.
Cervical Cancer Treatment Methods
The methods used in the treatment of cervical cancer are grouped under two main groups as surgery and radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is a treatment method that can be used in all stages of cervical cancer. Since the spread of the disease is much less in early-stage cancers, surgical treatment comes to the fore.
In advanced stages, the primary treatment is radiotherapy. In surgical treatment; It is aimed to clean the primary tumor located in the cervical region and possible spread areas. Surgical treatment is one of the following minor surgical techniques according to the size of the tumor; It can vary from primary surgical techniques in which the entire uterus, cervix, and lymph nodes are removed.
LEEP (Loop electrosurgical procedure)
An invaluable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cellular changes. It is a method that takes advantage of the cutting and bleeding-stopping effect of electricity on the tissue.
It is a method that crystallizes the intercellular water, resulting in damage to the surface tissue of the cervix and cell death.
It can be used in any case where the entire lesion can be seen in cancer that has spread, and the result of intrauterine curettage is clean.
It is a surgical method in which a cone-shaped part is removed from the cervix, which plays a significant role in treating cellular changes in the cervix.