cervical cancer

amiekendall By amiekendall, 15th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Women's Health

this for the woman who may need to know about the deadly disease

cervical cancer

What is cervical cancer?
Completely different types of cancer affect different areas of the womb, or uterus. The best known, perhaps as a result of a nationwide screening programme, is cervical cancer, which affects the cervix, or neck, of the womb.

Over 90 per cent of cervical cancers can be split in to two types:

•Squamous cell carcinoma, which start in the surface cells lining the cervix. It develops in a series of precancerous changes, starting with mild abnormalities in the cells and progressing towards full cancer. Each year, about 24,000 women are found to have the most serious form of precancerous abnormalities (CIN 3 changes) when they have a cervical smear test.
•Between five to ten per cent are a different type, called adenocarcinoma, which form from mucus-producing gland cells (there are also various sub-types of adenocarcinoma). These are more difficult to spot as it usually starts high up in the cervical canal and may not be picked up by a smear test.
There are also two much more rare types known as small cell carcinoma and cervical sarcoma. Another, far less common cancer of the womb is uterine sarcoma, which affects the powerful muscles of the womb. This is far more similar to other cancers which affect muscles than to either uterine or cervical cancer.
What causes cervical cancer?
•Infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV), although not the type that causes genital warts. HPV is found in virtually all cases of cervical cancer and HPV types 16 and 18 carry the highest risk.
•Other sexually transmitted infections ( such as chlamydia or HIV, which weakens the immune system) in combination with HPV.
•Any factor that increases the risk of exposure to HPV, including e number of sexual partners, first having sex at a young age and not using barrier contraceptives such as condoms.
•Smokers are twice as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix as non-smokers as chemicals in cigarette smoke damage special cells in the cervix that normally fight the disease.
•The contraceptive pill increases the risk by a very small amount.
•Not having a smear test. Almost half of all new cases of cervical cancer occur in women who've never had a smear test, which means pre-cancerous stages of the disease aren't detected or treated early.
•Those taking oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapies to alleviate menopausal symptoms are at higher risk. Most HRT formulations include other hormones such as progestin which appear to reduce that risk.
•Overweight or obese women are thought to have more natural oestrogen in their bodies - another reason why they are more vulnerable.
•Women who suffer from a condition known as benign endometrial hyperplasia, in which the lining of the womb is naturally thicker, also are more likely to develop endometrial cancer.
•Having babies at a young age; a woman who has a baby at the age of 17 has twice the risk of a woman having her first baby at the age of 25 or older.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
If a smear is abnormal, you may be asked to have a repeat smear, or (particularly if there has been more than one abnormal smear) be sent to a specialist for further checks.

Once cancer is established however, the most common symptom is bleeding between periods or after sex.

Menstrual bleeding may be heavier and last longer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly after the menopause, can also be a symptom of uterine cancer but any of these symptoms may have causes other than cervical cancer, so it’s important to get them checked by your GP, even if your last smear was normal.

Other symptoms include:

•Any sort of unusual or unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
•Discomfort/pain during intercourse.
•Pain in the pelvic area.
•Painful or difficult urination.
There are various techniques used by doctors to try and locate the cause if cervical cancer is suspected, these include:

•A pelvic examination, which can be carried out by a GP, who will check the vagina, womb, ovaries, bladder and rectum for unusual lumps or changes.
•Another smear test, or Pap test, taking samples of cells from different areas around the womb neck and looking at them under a microscope for signs of abnormality. Sometimes all that's needed is to repeat the test a few months later to see if the abnormalities have healed.
•A technique called colposcopy, which uses a microscope to look in more detail at the cervix, is sometimes used, together with a biopsy of the suspicious area of tissue. The extent of any cancer discovered may be confirmed by taking a more extensivetissue biopsy.
How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
Many cervical cancers are detected by the national screening programme. The NHS Cervical Screening Programme first invites a woman to have a smear test at the age of 25. After that, women are offered screening every three years until the age of 49, and then every five years until 64. This can be taken by a doctor or nurse at your GP surgery, family planning clinic or well woman clinic.

The cervical cancer screening programme allows for early detection of abnormal cell changes in a woman’s womb. Most of these can’t be classed as fully cancerous and are far easier to treat. The screening programme checks 4.4 million women every year and currently saves approximately 4,500 lives a year in England. About 2,800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year – a reduction of 40 per cent since 1988. The screening programme has helped reduce the cervical cancer death rate, which has plummeted by 60 per cent in the past 30 years.
What is the treatment for cervical cancer?
If caught at their earliest pre-cancerous stage, abnormal cervical cells can be dealt with simply. Depending on the spread of the disease, and youryour age, a number of options are available, including surgery to remove abnormal tissue or the entire womb.

If there is evidence of spread, then the ovaries and nearby lymph nodes are sometimes removed as well. If the cancer has spread beyond the wall of the womb, then radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be required.

Survival rates are over 70 percent when it’s caught in its earlier stages, so it’s essential to have regular smear tests

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Cervical Cancer

Meet the author

author avatar amiekendall
i work 35 hours a week i am 23 yrs old i like to write reead and crochet. i am also studying bookkeeping and accounts. i lso write about what is in the news and poetry, i am writing for triond for over a year but not getting much from them.

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Comments

author avatar drelayaraja
17th Jun 2010 (#)

Nice share. Awareness is must to fight all kinds of cancer

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author avatar satan fury
21st Jun 2010 (#)

This is very scary. A thorough article on a deadly disease. thanks for the add. glad you like my work:)

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