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Cervical Cancer

 

Cervical cancer is an abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the cervix which connects the uterus and the vagina.

Causes
The exact causes are not known but some risk factors are:

  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
  • HIV infection
  • Certain STDs like chlamydia infection, gonorrhea, syphylis
  • Prolonged use of oral contraceptives
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Heredity
  • Smoking

Symptoms
Symptoms are not present during the early stages. Later stages include:

  • Vaginal bleeding other than during  menstruation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Back and pelvic pain
  • Leakage of urine and feces

Treatment
Treatment varies from patient to patient. It includes one or a combination of the following:

  • Chemotherapy: This involves injecting drugs to control and destroy the cancerous cells.
  • Surgery: It includes various types like conization, hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, radical hysterectomy, pelvic exenteration, cryosurgery, laser surgery and LEEP.
  • Radiation therapy: This can be used in case surgery alone is not enough to remove the cancer.

Prevention

  • Getting a regular pap smear done and following up on abnormal pap smears.
  • Not having multiple sexual partners and using a condom
  • Quit smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • Getting the HPV vaccine