Cervical Cancer - A General Overview
Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that grows in the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the female uterus or womb.
The uterus, a pear shaped and hollow is epecially
active during the women's child bearing years is this the organ where
babies grows during the woman's pregnancy. Forming a kind of canal during
a birth, the cervix opens into the vagina, or birth canal, which leads
the unborn baby into the outside world.
Cervical cancer grows
very slowly, and is deceptive because the symptoms
of cervical cancer only begin to appear as the cancer begins to
spread. Medical centers and health clinics encourage women who fall
into the category of being potential cervical cancer sufferers are encouraged
to take regular Pap tests. Pap tests are a procedure, where cells are
scraped from the cervix. They are then sent for analysis to ascertain
if there are any cancerous cells present.
The widespread use of Pap tests have gone a long way to arresting the number of cervical cancers sufferers in recent years.
Women who are at risk from cervical cancer are those who have given birth, and especially so, those who have had a lot of children. Smokers and women who used contraceptive pills for a long time are also in the high risk category. Lastly women who have suffered from some form of sexually transmitted disease and especially AIDS stand a very strong chance of contracting cervical cancer.
If the cervical cancer goes undetected long enough,
the sufferer will begin to develop and display certain symptoms. The
first and most common symptom is high levels of abnormal vaginal bleeding,
during and out with the menstrual cycle.
If a women experiences constant bleeding from the
vagina, she should report the problem to her family doctor or health
center. The problem is that many women, especially those approaching
the menopause, will tend to ignore vaginal bleeding, and falsely construe
it as part of the change of life that she is going through. Women who
continue bleeding after their menopause should also report for a Pap
test. Pain or bleeding after sexual intercourse is another possible
symptom that should be taken seriously.
Obviously the earlier the Pap test detects the cancer the better chance that the sufferer has of surviving the disease. The treating doctor will order a coloscopy to detect if there are cancerous cells in the cervix and if so, how far the cells have spread. Judging from his initial findings, the doctor may order a Luma Cervical imaging system scan. The LUMA shines a light into the cervix, and the system gauges the extent of damage to the cells to provide a more accurate diagnosis.
If the prognosis shows that cancerous cells exist the doctor will almost certainly recommend surgery. For example a cone biopsy. A cone biopsy describes the surgical procedure where a cone-shaped or cylinder-shaped piece of the cervix is removed. Other surgical procedures used in the treatment of cervical cancer are cryocautery, loop electroexcision (LEEP) or laser treatment.
As in most other instances of surgery to move cancerous
cells and tumors, the patient will have to undergo a long and debilitating
course of chemotherapy to ensure that all the cancer bearing cells in
her body have been killed of.
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