Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix portion of the uterus. The “cervix” forms the lower-most part or portion of the uterus and connects it with the vagina. Cancer may spread to the vagina, lungs, liver and other parts of the body as well.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Infections with viruses including the HPV or Human Papilloma Virus and HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus may be a cause of cervical cancer, of which the HPV infection is the most common cause of the disease. Other factors including smoking, multiple pregnancies and/or two long-term uses of contraceptive medications make women more vulnerable to the cancer of the cervix.
As the HPV virus is the predominant cause of cervical cancer, vaccination against it can help prevent the disease. Vaccinations including Gardasil have been known to reduce the cervix or perineum cancer risk by up to 92%.
A nutritive diet that contains vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E help prevent chronic disease. Use of barriers in the form of a condom during sexual intercourse can also reduce and prevent the incidence of cervical cancer.
The Pap test or Papanicolaou test (a cytological screening) can be conducted in every 3 to 5 years and has helped lower the incidence of cervical cancer and related deaths in the advanced countries.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Some of the common cervical cancer signs and symptoms in women include:
- Heavy and odd discharges
- Abnormal bleeding
- Long-term pain in the pelvic and back area
- The occurrence of pain during urination
- Excessive bleeding in between menstrual periods
Treatment of cervical cancer
Like much other cancer, chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation can be used for cervical cancer treatment. The use of surgery for treating cervical cancer is more common. Below are the surgical techniques and medical procedures used.
Conisation – removal of a cone shape tissue from the affected organ
Hysterectomy- removal of a part of the uterus
Radical Hysterectomy- involves removal of the uterus along with parts of vagina and lymph nodes
Cryosurgery- involves freezing and destruction of the cancerous cells within the body
Laser surgery- the cancer specialist doctor removes the cancerous areas through laser-guided beams and surgical knife
Pelvic exenteration- the surgical process removes many different and cancer affected parts of the body including vagina, ovaries, rectum, bladder, lower colon, and others
While the leading Indian hospitals possess the best of oncology medical equipment and are attended by trained and highly skilled medical physicians, surgeons and oncologists, the cost of surgery and of cervical cancer treatment is low in India. For instance, Conisation costs USD 1800 in India while it costs USD 5000 in the USA. Likewise, the cost of laser surgery is around USD 3000 in India, while it is USD 9000 in USA and USD 7500 in the UK.
For treating cervical cancer, the age of the patient, size of the tumour and other factors are also considered before the therapy course is chosen. Fortunately, the leading hospitals in India offer the latest techniques including laser surgery and cryosurgery for treating the condition.