Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervical cells in the lower part of the cervix that connects to the vagina.
Various strains of humana papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, cause most cervical cancers.
When exposed to HPV, the body’s immune system typically blocks the virus from causing harm. However, in some people the virus survives for years and contributes to the process that causes some cervical cells to turn into cancer cells.
You can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by getting screening tests and getting the HPV vaccine.
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer begins when healthy cells in the cervix develop changes (mutations) in their DNA.
Healthy cells grow and multiply at a certain rate and eventually die at a certain time. Mutations tell cells to grow and multiply out of control, and as a result, old cells do not die. The accumulated abnormal cells form a mass (tumor). Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can break away from a tumor and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize).
It is not clear what causes cervical cancer, but it is known for sure that HPV plays a role in the formation of cervical cancer. HPV is very common, but most people who have the virus do not develop cancer.
Types of Cervical Cancer
The type of cervical cancer you have helps predict the progression of the disease and determine your treatment. The main types of cervical cancer are:
Squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cervical cancer begins in the thin, flat cells (squamous cells) that line the outer part of the cervix that extends into the vagina. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
Adenocarcinoma. This type of cervical cancer begins in the column-shaped glandular cells lining the cervical canal.
Very rarely, cancer can also occur in other cells in the cervix.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Cervical Cancer
Risk factors for cervical cancer include:
Many sexual partners. The more sexual partners you have and the more sexual partners your partner has, the greater your chance of contracting HPV.
Sexual activity starting at an early age. Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.
Sexually transmitted infections. Having other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS, increases your risk of HPV.
A weakened immune system. If your immune system is weakened by another health condition and you have HPV, you may be more likely to develop cervical cancer.
To smoke. Smoking is associated with squamous cell cervical cancer.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Early-stage cervical cancer usually produces no signs or symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of more advanced cervical cancer include:
Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse, between menstrual periods, or after menopause
Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may have a foul odor
Pelvic pain during intercourse
Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?
To reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer:
Learn about the HPV vaccine. Getting vaccinated to prevent HPV infection may reduce your risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers. Ask your doctor if an HPV vaccine is right for you.
Get routine Pap tests. Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix, so they can be used to detect cervical cancer before it occurs.
Practice safe sex. Reduce your risk of cervical cancer by taking precautions to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as using a condom every time you have sex and limiting the number of sexual partners you have.
Do not smoke. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to help you quit.
Risky pregnancy or high risk pregnancy; These are pregnancies that have an additional disease before or during pregnancy, or where there is a risk of miscarriage or a risk of disability in the baby in the scans.
In cases where normal vaginal birth cannot be performed, the method used is cesarean delivery. In cases where normal birth is considered, a caesarean section can be performed urgently, or a caesarean section decision can be made by prenatal planning. If it is determined that a cesarean section will be performed before birth, the date and time of the procedure can be determined.
Caesarean section is a birth technique performed under operating room conditions and anesthesia. In this procedure, the baby is removed from the mother’s womb by making an incision first in the abdomen and then in the uterus. Then, the incisions are closed with stitches and the birth is completed.
Aginal discharge is the fluid secreted from small glands in the vagina and cervix. This fluid leaks from the vagina every day to flush out old cells and debris, keeping the vagina and reproductive system clean and healthy. Vaginal discharge may occur from normal changes in estrogen levels
In uterine prolapse, the muscle around the vagina, connective tissues, and the nerve that holds the pelvic organs and tissues in place, break as the muscle tissues weaken and prolapse occurs outside the vagina. It occurs due to reasons such as normal birth, insufficient estrogen, and old age.
Sexually transmitted diseases that can be treated are: Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. The 4 most common sexually transmitted diseases are; hepatitis B, herpes simplex, HIV (AIDS) and HPV cannot be fully treated