It’s never easy to think about cancer, but when it comes to cervical cancer, knowledge and prevention can save lives. As a woman, it’s important to know the risks, symptoms, and treatments of cervical cancer to take control of your health and wellbeing.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The leading cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Other risk factors include smoking, a weakened immune system, and a family history of cervical cancer.
Risk factors of cervical cancer: The following factors can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer:
- HPV infection
- Weakened immune system
- Family history of cervical cancer
- Early sexual activity
- Multiple sexual partners
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives
Signs and Symptoms
Cervical cancer may not show any symptoms in the early stages. However, as the cancer grows and spreads, the following symptoms may appear:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain during sex
- Pelvic pain
Stages of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is classified into four stages based on the extent of cancer spread. These stages include:
Stage 0: Abnormal cells in the cervix
Stage I: Cancer is limited to the cervix
Stage II: Cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the pelvic wall or lower third of the vagina
Stage III: Cancer has spread to the pelvic wall or lower third of the vagina
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bladder or rectum
Treatments for Cervical Cancer
The treatment options for cervical cancer depend on the stage and location of the cancer. These treatments may include:
- Surgery: Surgery is often used to remove the cancerous tissue from the cervix. This may involve a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), trachelectomy (removal of the cervix), or lymph node removal.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It can be done externally or internally.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given orally or intravenously.
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific proteins or genes that contribute to the growth of cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It can be done through vaccines or drugs.
Preventing Cervical Cancer
The most effective way to prevent cervical cancer is through routine screening with a Pap test and an HPV test. Other ways to reduce the risk of cervical cancer include:
- Getting vaccinated against HPV
- Practicing safe sex
- Not smoking
Asian Hospital and Medical Center – Asian Cancer Institute:
Asian Hospital and Medical Center offers comprehensive services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer. The hospital has a team of experienced oncologists, gynecologists, and other specialists who are dedicated to providing quality care to patients with cervical cancer.
The hospital’s Cancer Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and technology to deliver the most advanced treatments for cervical cancer. Treatment options for cervical cancer at Asian Hospital and Medical Center include:
- Surgery – Surgery is a common treatment for early-stage cervical cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancerous tissue and prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Depending on the stage of the cancer, different surgical procedures may be recommended, such as a hysterectomy or trachelectomy.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy. External beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy are the two types of radiation therapy used to treat cervical cancer.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments. Chemotherapy is often recommended for advanced-stage cervical cancer or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the body’s immune system fight cancer. It works by either boosting the immune system or by using synthetic immune system proteins to target cancer cells.
The treatment plan for cervical cancer depends on several factors, such as the stage of the cancer, the size and location of the tumor, and the patient’s overall health. The healthcare team at Asian Hospital and Medical Center will work with the patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that best fits their needs.
In addition to treatment, Asian Hospital and Medical Center also offers support services for cervical cancer patients and their families. These services may include counseling, support groups, and palliative care.
It’s important to note that early detection and prevention are key in the fight against cervical cancer. Regular cervical cancer screening tests, such as Pap tests and HPV tests, can detect the cancer at an early stage, when it’s most treatable. The healthcare team at Asian Hospital and Medical Center can provide guidance on the appropriate screening tests and frequency based on the patient’s age and risk factors.