Cervical cancer, the third most common type of cancer found in women affects approximately 12,000 women each year (Cervical Cancer Statistics). Cervical cancer acts as all other cancers do in that it occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control. The cause of cervical cancer is not totally clear but there are common signs found in all women who have been diagnosed with the cancer. There are also numerous symptoms for the cancer, along with different treatment options depending on the stage of the cancer (Cervical Cancer).
As stated, cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control. These cells grow out of control in the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina (webmd.com). Cervical cancer is split into many different types; the two main types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. The squamous cell carcinomas type occurs with the thin cells that line the bottom of the cervix, known as squamous cells. The adenocarcinomas type happens in the glandular cells which line the cervical canal. Out of these two types of cervical cancer, the squamous cell carcinomas is responsible for the greater majority of women diagnosed with the cancer (mayoclinic.com).
Cervical cancer is the result of cervical dysplasia (if a woman has cervical dysplasia and goes untreated) which is not actually cancer at first. However, the cells do end up changing abnormally if a woman has cervical dysplasia, but not to the point where they are cancerous (Cervical Cancer). Cervical dysplasia is most usually caused by a sexually transmitted virus called the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV affects both men and women and is the most common sexually transmitted disease. This virus is usually found in all women who have cervical cancer (webmd.com).
Once the cells affected by cervical dysplasia advance into cervical cancer, there will usually be no shown symptoms. However, the symptoms that do occur rarely include: abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause. Continuous vaginal discharge of different colors and heavier periods are symptoms as well. Women who are affected by the later stages of cervical cancer may experience frequent bone pain, fatigue, leg pain, pelvic pain, and weight loss (Cervical Cancer).
Even though cervical cancer is a very common cancer amongst women, it is easily avoidable and it can actually be cured. The easiest way to avoid this cancer is to avoid sex. Another great way for prevention is for women to visit their gynecologist’s and schedule pap smears. This way if pre-cancerous cells are found with the pap smear results, doctors can treat it, thus preventing the cells to progress and therefore avoiding cancer. If cervical cancer is caught at an early stage it can be cured by removing or destroying the cancerous tissue (Cervical Cancer). Later stages of cervical cancer would require different surgery options. Cryotherapy would freeze the abnormal cells preventing further progress. There is also laser therapy which uses light to burn any abnormal tissue. A more extreme approach would be hysterectomy. This type of surgery removes the uterus but not the ovaries, and is performed on woman in which the cancer has not yet spread (Cervical Cancer).
Cervical cancer affects nearly 12,000 women each year. This cancer occurs after the abnormal cells of cervical dysplasia have progressed. The cause of cervical dysplasia is due to human papilloma virus (if untreated). Symptoms of cervical cancer are usually rare but can occur on occasion. Fortunately cervical cancer can easily be avoided by abstinence, safe sex, and scheduled pap smear tests.
“Cervical Cancer.” mayoclinic.com. MFMER, 17 Mar 2012. Web. 17 Jan 2013.
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United States. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cervical Cancer. Bethesda: A.D.A.M, 2012. Print. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov>.