What Exactly is Cervical Cancer?
It is a kind of cancer caused by a virus called human papillomavirus or HPV. It usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer occurs in the cervix, the cells go through changes, beginning to grow out of control. Over a period of time, these cells may become cancerous and may begin to spread more deeply into the cervix and the surrounding areas.
Although you have probably already heard about cervical cancer, let’s take one more look at its signs, possible treatment options and the need to create awareness.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms include bleeding between menstrual periods, after menopause and sexual intercourse. Foul smelling white discharge, low back pain or lower abdominal pain may also occur. Frequent urination, weight loss, pelvic pain or painful urination are also some of the signs. But in some cases there may be no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Hence the importance of regular medical check-ups. Any problem in the cervix should be monitored and treated as early as possible.
How to Diagnose
The first step in finding cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests – one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening methods. Pap tests can detect changes in cervical cells. If you take care of these changes, you may prevent cervical cancer. During this test, a small sample of cells is taken from the area of the cervix to identify the cell changes. If it shows positive, your doctor can do further tests.
Cervical cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed early. Treatment depends on various aspects such as type, severity, location, possible side effects and the patient’s overall health condition. As these treatments are often complex, hospitals use multidisciplinary teams to treat cervical cancer.
Different types of treatments include:
- Radiation therapy;
- Targeted therapy.
At the initial stage of cervical cancer, either surgery (to remove the womb or part of it) or radiation combined with chemo may be used. For the advanced stages, radiation combined with chemo is usually the main treatment.
In case it is not curable, palliative care treatment may be given to slow its progression, prolong lifespan and relieve pain.
Raise Awareness to Prevent
Since January is designated by the U.S. Congress as Cervical Health Awareness Month, it is a chance to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from the disease. Join hands with health administrators, non-profit organizations, local authorities and organize awareness campaigns. Educate the general public about the complications associated with this disease and the importance of regular medical check-ups. There are many ways you can raise your voice for a good cause and using customized wristbands is definitely one of the best examples. In a fast-growing modern world, people not only love wearing wristbands to show off their taste in fashion, but also to make a cause worth supporting more popular. These are easily available online and made of high quality material called silicone which is non-allergenic to skin. In view of their highly and easily customizable, flexible nature, you can design them with different inspirational awareness messages and use them in your campaign to reach more people.