Cervical Cancer, cancer that is initiated in the cervix. Cervix a part of a female reproductive organ that connects the vagina, a birth canal, to the upper region of the uterus, a womb where a baby grows during pregnancy.
Cancer, considered as a disease in which cells of the body grow and divide abnormally, in an uncontrolled manner, and considered as a lethal disease.
Every woman is at risk of developing cervical cancer, which mostly occurs at age over 30 yrs. The main cause of the disease is considered to be the long-lasting infection of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus is a sexually transmitted infection. Every sexually active individual is at risk of developing HPV, although out of which few women develop cervical cancer.
HPV is the common most cause of cervical cancer. Considering almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Few types of HPV lead to changes in the cervix that increase the risk of developing cervical cancer over time, while few other types of HPV cause skin and genital warts.
Few other risks of cervical cancer are considered to be
- Use of birth control pills for a longer period, five or more years
- Having several sexual partners
Cervical cancer in early-stage may not cause any signs or symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause abnormal discharge or bleed from the vagina.
You wonder if no signs and symptoms are visible in the initial stage, then how a woman can prevent from developing the disease.
The most prevent measure for any disease is the screening for the disease. To prevent cervical cancer the most preventive measure is regular screening tests initiated from the age of 21.
The screening tests available for cervical cancers are, PAP tests (or PAP smear), that look for the pre-cancer cell changes on the cervix that might develop into cancer cells if not treated appropriately at the initial stage.
The other screening test is, HPV test, which analyses for HPV, the virus that can cause these cell changes.
Although, the most efficient HPV prevention is available in for of vaccine, the HPV vaccine, that protects against the HPV types that often cause cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer is diagnosed by Biopsy, where the cervical tissue is taken, and analyzed for the type of cells, that could define the disease and stage of the disease. There are two types of biopsy procedure carried for taking the cervical tissue sample:
- Punch Biopsy – involves using a sharp tool to pinch off small samples of cervical tissue.
- Endocervical curettage: use a small, spoon-shaped instrument or a thin brush to scrape a small tissue sample from the cervix.
Treatment options available for cervical cancer depends on the kind and the spread of the cancer. Treatments considered for cervical cancers are:
- Surgery: Removal of cancer tissue in an operation
- Chemotherapy: Use of specific medicines to shrink or kill cancer.
- Radiation: Use of high-energy rays to kill cancer.
- Immunotherapy: a drug that helps your immune system to fight cancer.
- Targeted Therapy: focus on specific weaknesses present within the cancer cells.
Different other treatments options are available for treating cervical cancer, as a Clinical Trials, it uses new treatment options to check if they are effective and safe for the patients. Clinical Trials play a key role in treating cancers, as these enable the doctor to recognize to safer and effective drugs or therapies that can suit an individual. And even enables the approval of these new drugs and therapies in the market.
These treatment options such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, all need a defined recommendation for specific drugs to be used as treatment. New implementation of molecular diagnosis has enabled the doctors to recognize the specific biomarkers of the disease and the therapies recommended for these biomarkers.
Positive Bioscience provides a molecular diagnosis for cancer patients. Tests like PositiveSelect, that analyze genomic alterations in cancer patients, that guides your specific treatment options, according to your cancer type.
– By Divya Jindam