Cancer, cervical

Other names: Cervical cancer

DEFINITION

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer. Screening tests and receiving an HPV vaccine can help reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.

SYMPTOMS

Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms of more-advanced cervical cancer include:

CAUSES

Cervical cancer begins when healthy cells acquire genetic changes that cause them to turn into abnormal cells. HPV plays a significant role in the development of cervical cancer, although other factors such as lifestyle choices also contribute to the risk.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for cervical cancer include:

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Screening tests for cervical cancer include Pap tests and HPV DNA tests. If cervical cancer is suspected, further diagnostic procedures such as colposcopy and biopsies are performed. Staging exams help determine the extent of the cancer for treatment planning.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for cervical cancer depends on various factors such as stage and overall health. Options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination. Follow-up care is essential post-treatment for monitoring and managing any potential recurrence.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

To reduce the risk of cervical cancer:

COPING AND SUPPORT

Dealing with a cervical cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Seeking information, support from loved ones or support groups, setting realistic goals, and taking care of yourself are important aspects of coping with the diagnosis.

QUESTIONS

  1. What role does HPV play in causing cervical cancer?

HPV plays a significant role in causing most cases of cervical cancer.

  1. What are some symptoms of advanced cervical cancer?

Symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, watery discharge, and pelvic pain.

  1. How can you reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer?

By having screening tests and receiving an HPV vaccine.

  1. What are some risk factors for cervical cancer?

Risk factors include multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, other STIs, weak immune system, and smoking.

  1. What are some screening tests for cervical cancer?

Pap tests and HPV DNA tests are common screening methods.

  1. What are some treatment options for cervical cancer?

Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination.

  1. How is staging important in treating cervical cancer?

Staging helps determine the extent of the cancer and guides treatment decisions.

  1. How can lifestyle choices help reduce the risk of cervical cancer?

Lifestyle choices such as vaccination against HPV, routine Pap tests, safe sex practices, and not smoking can reduce the risk.

  1. What are some coping strategies for dealing with a cervical cancer diagnosis?

Seeking information, support from others, setting goals, and self-care are important coping strategies.

  1. Why is follow-up care important after completing treatment for cervical cancer?

Follow-up care is essential for monitoring any potential recurrence or complications post-treatment.