Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the cervix: connecting the uterus to the vaginal canal. The leading cause for most cervical cancer cases is a human papillomavirus (a sexually transmitted) infection.
Usually, the immune system protects your body from HPV infection. But on the other hand, the virus can persist for years, contributing to the transformation of some cervical cells into cancer cells.
As a treatment option, many oncologists suggest a hysterectomy for cervical cancer. But does it really cure it?
Cervical Cancer and its Signs & Symptoms
Cervix is the lowest part of the uterus that connects the uterus to the vagina. HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, causes most cervical cancers.
It usually has no symptoms in its early stages. However, progressed cervical cancer has the following signs and symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding after a sexual encounter/ after menopause.
- Symptoms include watery, crimson, and foul-smelling discharge.
- Pelvic pain
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
- Excessive menstrual flow/intermenstrual bleeding
If you experience any such symptoms, contact an expert at the earliest.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Even though the exact cause of cervical cancer is uncertain, HPV is considered an essential element behind its cause. HPV is quite widespread, but most people with it never develop cancer.
It means that other factors, such as your environment and lifestyle choices, play a role in whether you acquire cervical cancer. So here comes the risk factors.
Some of the risk factors that put you at risk of cervical cancer are:
- Multiple sexual partners -The more sexual partners you have – and more sexual partners your partner has — the more likely you are to contract HPV.
- Early sexual activity—having sex when you’re young increases your risk of contracting HPV.
- Infections by sexual contact (STIs) -Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS enhance your risk of contracting HPV.
- A weaker immune system – If another health issue weakens your immune system and you have HPV, you may develop cervical cancer.
- Poor genital hygiene – no cleanliness, dirty pads, etc can increase your risk
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, your doctor can suggest a hysterectomy as a treatment.
What is a Hysterectomy?
It is a surgical process to remove the cervix, uterus, and part of the vagina and surrounding lymph nodes. Normal hysterectomy is just removal of uterus and sometimes ovaries. A variety of other reasons suggests simple hystrectomy as the treatment option, including:
- Fibroids in the womb (uterus) which may cause pain, bleeding, or other issues
- The uterus moves from its regular position into the vagina, causing uterine prolapse.
- Vaginal bleeding that isn’t normal
- Pelvic discomfort that persists.
The most common therapy for cervical cancer in its early stages is radical hysterectomy.(not routine simple hysterectomy) However, only women with very early-stage cervical cancer should get a hysterectomy. It is an effective treatment for small-stage cervical tumors, with a 90 percent success rate.
Radical hystrectomy is different from routine hysterectomy as it involves removal of some part of surrounding tissues (parametrium), vagina part, so cancer ces should not remain, along with lymph nodes where cancer spreads first.
When cancer occurs in the cervix, it often spreads to the uterus and is called invasive cervical cancer. At this stage, removing both the uterus and cervix becomes crucial.
If you get a total hysterectomy done from oncosurgeon , there is a high cure rate with no recurrence of cervical cancer. However, with this surgery, your uterus is removed, which means you can’t get pregnant in the future.
Cervical cancer is a common gynecological cancer that affects women. With its no defined cause, it is always better to prevent it. For this, avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking. In addition, get tested regularly and stay aware of your symptoms.