Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs due to the abnormal growth of cells on the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that connects with the vagina. It is most common in women over the age of 30 and caused in most cases by the Human Papillomavirus.
Thanks to Pap tests, Cervical Cancer can be detected in the early stages and even prevented completely.
The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any at all until it's reached an advanced stage. This is why it's very important for you to attend all your cervical screening appointments.
Unusual bleeding In most cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer (during or after sex, between your periods, after you have been through the menopause).
Advanced cervical cancer Symptoms
In order to diagnose cervical cancer, your doctor may perform:
Pap smear: This examination is performed by scraping cells from the cervix. The cells are then sent to a lab where they are analyzed in order to detect any abnormalities.
Colposcopy: This examination uses a low-powered microscope to view the cervix so your doctor can locate any abnormalities and biopsy the area. However, a biopsy may be performed without a colposcopy.
Biopsy: A sampling of potentially affected tissues with a needle.
Body CT scan: This procedure combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. For example, a CT scan of the chest is often used to find out whether cancer has spread to the lungs.
Body MRI: This imaging exam uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body.
There are several options for the treatment of early-stage cervical cancer. Decisions about treatment depend on the stage of cancer, your age and health, and you and your doctor's preferences.
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