Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

How do you get cervical cancer?

Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer.

When exposed to HPV, a woman’s immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small group of women, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cells on the surface of the cervix to become cancer cells.

You can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by having screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Most women do not have any signs or symptoms of a precancer or early-stage cervical cancer. Symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer has spread to other tissues and organs. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.

Any of the following could be signs or symptoms of cervical dysplasia or cancer:

  • Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods
  • Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual
  • Bleeding after intercourse, douching, or a pelvic examination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Any of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor. If these symptoms appear, it is important to talk with your doctor about them even if they appear to be symptoms of other, less serious conditions. The earlier precancerous cells or cancer is found and treated, the better the chance that the cancer can be prevented or cured.

How detect cervical cancer?

As part of a pelvic exam, you should have a Pap test. During a Pap test, the doctor scrapes a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix to look for cell changes. If a Pap test shows abnormal cell changes, your doctor may do other tests to look for precancerous or cancer cells on your cervix.

How cervical cancer is treated?

Patients with cervical cancer are most often treated surgically with a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix). Different types of hysterectomy might be recommended based on the extent of the cervical cancer. Surgery may be performed with an open incision in the abdomen, or using a minimally invasive technique, such as laparoscopy or robotic gynecologic oncology procedures.

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about

DR Chitrathara K

HOD & Senior Consultant in Surgical & Gynaec Oncology. VPS Lakeshore Kochi
Specialized in gynecological, urological, and breast cancer surgeries.

  • Actively participated in the development of surgical oncology as a separate speciality in Kerala
  •  First lady Urologist of Kerala.
  • Started Kerala's first Gynaecological Cancer Surgery unit at Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram in 1993 & urological oncology in 2009.
  • Authored malayalam book “ Sthreekalile Arbudam-Ariyendathellam” published in 2014 by DC books
  • Editor of the following books - Ovarian Cancer (2008), Cervical cancer (2010) and Uterine Cancer (2015).

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