Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Causes, Types, Symptoms And Treatment

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. It is essential to know all about this disease for early detection.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Causes, Types, Symptoms And Treatment
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (Image Credits: Freepik)

THE WORLD observes Cervical Cancer prevention week from January 23 to 29 every year. It is a perfect opportunity for the World Health Organisation to raise awareness about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020. About 90 percent of the new cases and deaths worldwide in 2023 occurred in low- and middle-income countries as per World Health Organization. Women living with HIV are 6 times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to women without HIV.

What is Cervical Cancer?

According to National Cancer Institute, cervical cancer is which starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (womb). The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Over time, if not destroyed or removed, the abnormal cells may become cancer cells and start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.

Types Of Cervical Cancer

1. Squamous cell carcinoma: These cancers develop from cells in the ectocervix. Most cervical cancers are Squamous cell carcinomas.

2. Adenocarcinoma: They develop in the glandular cells of the endocervix.

Causes

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anyone with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in people over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of cervical cancer include:

1. Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause

2. Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor

3. Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

4. Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual

5. Increased vaginal discharge

6. Bleeding after menopause

7. Unexplained, persistent pelvic and/or back pain

Treatment

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention suggests that the treatment of cervical cancers commonly includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapies. For early stages, surgery or radiation combined with chemo can be used. Whereas, for the later stages, radiation combined with chemo is usually used as the main treatment.a

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