Cervical cancer in Females- the leading Cause of Death

Cervical cancer 1

You’ve recently visited your gynecologist for regular medical screening. But, when the doctor asked you about any abnormality you have seen in the past few months. You answered ‘Yes.’ Upon further investigation, your doctor confirms that you have cervical cancer. Quite shocking news for you, isn’t it? All over the world, cervical cancer is the main cause behind the increased death of women every year.

Somehow, the mortality rate varies from developed nations to developing ones. In developing nations, cervical cancer is supposed to be the 2nd most common cause of death, whereas cervical cancer is ranked as the 12th most common cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society, around 12,000 American women are affected yearly by cervical cancer. But, the death ratio is very much higher in developing nations. About 370,000 women die annually from misdiagnosed or un-diagnosed cervical cancer in developing nations.

Lacking information about cervical cancer, the absence of awareness programs, and irregular medical checkups are the root cause of the increased mortality of cervical cancer, especially in developing countries.

Cervical cancer
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Cervical cancer- the silent killer

The female reproductive system is one of the most complicated systems of the body. And if any part of this system is affected, the entire system can be negatively impacted. For example, the cervix is the lowest part of the uterus. It is the connection between the uterus and the vagina. But, when the cervix size starts to grow uncontrollably, it indicates something is going wrong. If the treatment doesn’t start properly, cancer can spread in the nearby tissues or even throughout the body.

Cervical cancer is categorized into four main stages, including,
Stage 1: Cancerous growth has present only in the cervix. Good prognosis and rapid recovery.
Stage 2: Cancerous growth is spread to nearby tissues.
Stage 3: Cancer involves the lower vagina or the side of the pelvis.
Stage 4: Cancer has spread widely, involving the bladder or bowel. Since this stage is one of the most advanced, the prognosis and the recovery rate are too low.

Alarm bells of the Cervical Cancer

According to Dr. Mitchell Maiman, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Staten Island University Hospital in New York, ‘cervical cancer should be picked up before it causes cancer. He added that the disease has already become serious and invasive when dismissed, and the patient may come with the symptoms.

There are certain signs and symptoms indicating deterioration. For example, if you frequently experience pain in the lower belly or pelvis, it could be due to cervical cancer. In some rare cases, pain in urination and blood in the stool or urine also contributes to cervical cancer. Bleeding from the vagina, which is not normal, like the bleeding between the menstrual cycles after menopause or sex, is also a sign of cervix cancer. Abnormal vaginal discharge and pain during sex are other cardinal symptoms of the tumor.

Cervical cancer Alarms
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Cause of the cervical cancer

Human Papillomavirus is the main underlying reason that leads to cervical cancer. More often, HPV causes genital warts, which can be treated and prevented. But, when the genital warts are not visible, and you don’t notice any symptoms, the disease may progress to cervical cancer.

Having more than one sex partner or smoking daily can also trigger the abnormal growth of the cells in the cervix. However, several studies also concluded that young women (usually in their teens or twenties) are more affected by cervical cancer. Therefore, only the proper medical screening and early detection are potent tools for reducing the death rate affiliated with the disease.

Medical screening tests available for the cervical cancer

Cancer of the cervix is considered a preventable disease. A Pap smear test is the hallmark for the early detection of precancerous growth in the cervix. During the Pap smear test, your doctor takes the cervical cells and sends them to the lab for further lab analyses. The pain scale of this test varies from extreme pain to no pain.

Undoubtedly, the Pap smear test is highly effective, but this test is contraindicated in some conditions like during menstruation. The HPV test is also done simultaneously with the Pap smear test. Here is a quick list of candidates for the Pap smear test and the significance of the HPV in specific age groups.

cervical cancer death rate
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  • Age 21-29: You should go for a Pap test every three years. If the Pap test shows abnormal results, the HPV testing can be done as a follow-up test.
  • Age 30-65: Both the HPV test and Pap test should be done every five years. As an alternative, you can have a pap test alone as well.
  • Above 65 years: If the Pap test has been clear in the past years, you should stop testing.
  • Principal concerns: If your uterus or cervix is removed for medical reasons, you don’t need to go for a Pap test. But, if your doctor has suspected any cancerous changes in the cervix, you should get the HPV test. Also, whether you’ve been vaccinated, you should keep the Pap test routine.

Biopsy, CT scans, and MRI are other modalities that can help determine the lesion’s density, spread, and nature. A compromised immune system due to HIV infection or another disease can worsen cancer. Perhaps, you should be very careful about your health when your immunity is not functional at its optimal level.

Treatment strategies

Certain treatment options available worldwide can improve life expectancy, current health status, and cancer recurrence, from precancerous lesions to the advanced stages.

In the early stages, the lesion can be removed by freezing it off. After that, surgery is the best option for eliminating cancer in a specific area; somehow, it can minimize the recurrence issues. Radiotherapy is one of the commonly used methods for treating cervical cancer. On the other end, chemotherapy works as an anti-cancer drug. After getting treated, if you feel any symptoms, you should tell your doctor and ask him about a pelvic exam to limit the spread of cancer as soon as possible.

Cervical cancer treatment
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Prevention is better than cure.

Since cancer doesn’t show significant symptoms, add preventive measures earlier in your life. Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervix are the three most commonly used vaccinations. Due to this, a drop in the mortality rate is noticed, and the women eagerly participate in the annual screening programs.

Young women should get the vaccination straight away. Limiting your sexual partners and quitting smoking can reduce the chances of cervical cancer. Eating natural food and exercising regularly can make you less vulnerable to some cancers, including cervical cancer.

All you want to remember is that if you’ve genital warts or any other HPV in the past, you’re at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Hence, try to prevent the HPV primarily; you’ll surely be kept away from cervical cancer too.

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