Cervical cancer is a malignant tumor of the cells of the cervix, caused in 90% of cases by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
**Cervical cancer is the second most common malignancy in women after breast cancer.**Each year in the European Union, more than 25,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 12,000 deaths from it, which exceeds even deaths from AIDS and hepatitis B.
However, in more than 70% of cases, cervical cancer can be cured, regardless of the stage at which it is detected. And if the cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, then the probability of a complete cure is 90%.
Early onset of sexual activity
Having multiple sexual partners
Irregular condom use
Sexual relationship with a partner who has genital warts or has had an affair with a woman with cervical cancer
Early pregnancies, childbirth, abortions (up to 18 years of age)
Associated sexually transmitted infections
Smoking and alcoholism
Precancerous diseases of the cervix
papillary and follicular pseudo-erosion
cicatricial deformity of the cervix
polyposis and some others
They are only a background, fertile ground for the oncological process, but do not always lead to the formation of a tumor. In the absence of proper and timely medical intervention, such diseases can eventually turn into a new form – cancer in situ, cancer in situ, when only superficial cells of the cervix are subject to tumor transformations. At this stage, the tumor is still quite successfully and quickly cured.
But without treatment, in most cases, from the surface cells of the cervix, the process goes deep into the organ, involving an increasing volume of tissues, grows into the nerves and blood vessels, spreads with the blood flow to other internal organs, causing the formation of a tumor in them.
Read more: How does cervical cancer manifest itself?
Cervical cancer: symptoms
In the early stages, cervical cancer may be asymptomatic. Later, vaginal discharge appears: watery, as a result of the destruction of the lymphatic capillaries of the cervix, purulent, as a result of infection. But the main alarming symptom is the appearance of spotting.
First, it can be contact discharge (after and during intercourse), and then independent bleeding of varying intensity.
With the growth of the tumor, there are pains in the small pelvis, fetid purulent discharge, urinary outflow disorders, swelling of the lower body.
Every sexually active woman should undergo a routine gynecological examination every 6-12 months with the taking of smears for a cytological examination, during which atypical cells can be detected.
For women over 30, it is proposed to use as an additional diagnosis polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, which allows detecting human papillomavirus DNA if a woman is infected with HPV, and typing it to predict a possible cancer risk.
In the case of positive results, methods of a more detailed examination are used.
These include colposcopy (examination of the cervix under high magnification) and biopsy (taking a piece of altered tissue for analysis) with further histological examination of the material.
Prevention and treatment:
In most cases, it is enough to reconsider your life priorities, take the problem of contraception seriously, changing your habitual lifestyle if necessary, give up bad habits and, of course, undergo preventive examinations at the gynecologist on time.
Regular examinations and testing are the most important methods of secondary prevention of cervical cancer.
Treatment of precancerous and cancerous changes detected in the early stages gives a very good prognosis for life, health and reproductive function.
Cancer-causing vaccine developed against human papillomavirus “Gardasil”. This discovery protects women from the human papillomavirus, thus preventing precancerous diseases and cervical cancer.
Treatment of cervical cancer is selected individually, depending on the stage of the process and the health of the patient. The main methods of treatment: surgical, chemotherapy and radiotherapy (radiation). Usually, complex treatment is used.