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Cervical Cancer

cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina

Risk Factors

  • Having sex at an early age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Poor economic status
  • Weakened immune system

Manifestations:

Most of the time, early cervical cancer has no symptoms. Symptoms that may occur can include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
  • Any bleeding after menopause
  • Continuous vaginal discharge, which may be pale, watery, pink, brown, bloody, or foul-smelling
  • Periods become heavier and last longer than usual

Symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include:

  • Back pain
  • Bone fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy bleeding from the vagina
  • Leaking of urine or feces from the vagina
  • Leg pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pelvic pain
  • Single swollen leg
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis:
Precancerous changes of the cervix and cervical cancer cannot be seen with the naked eye. Special tests and tools are needed to spot such conditions.

  • Pap smears screen for precancers and cancer, but do not make a final diagnosis.
  • If abnormal changes are found, the cervix is usually examined under magnification. This is called colposcopy. Pieces of tissue are surgically removed (biopsied) during this procedure and sent to a laboratory for examination.

Other tests may include:

  • Endocervical curettage (ECC) to examine the opening of the cervix
  • Cone biopsy

If the woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer, the health care provider will order more tests to determine how far the cancer has spread. This is called staging. Tests may include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan
  • Cystoscopy
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • MRI

Treatment:
Treatment of cervical cancer depends on:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The size and shape of the tumor
  • The woman’s age and general health
  • Her desire to have children in the future

Types of surgery for early cervical cancer include:

  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) — uses electricity to remove abnormal tissue
  • Cryotherapy — freezes abnormal cells
  • Laser therapy — uses light to burn abnormal tissue

A hysterectomy (removal of the uterus but not the ovaries).

HYSTERECTOMY: (Types)

TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY

  • the removal of the uterine body and also the cervix (only)

SUBTOTAL HYSTERECTOMY

  • removal of the uterine body, but leaving the cervix in place.

TOTAL ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY w/ BILATERAL SALPINO-OOPHORECTOMY

  • the removal of the uterine body, cervix, connected tissue, some part of the vagina and some of the pelvic lymph nodes.

RADICAL HYSTERECTOMY

Radiation may be used to treat cancer that has spread beyond the pelvis, or cancer that has returned. Radiation therapy is either external or internal.

  • Internal radiation therapy uses a device filled with radioactive material, which is placed inside the woman’s vagina next to the cervical cancer. The device is removed when she goes home.
  • External radiation therapy beams radiation from a large machine onto the body where the cancer is located. It is similar to an x-ray.

Drugs for cervical cancer chemotherapy

  • 5-FU
  • cisplatin
  • carboplatin
  • ifosfamide
  • paclitaxel
  • cyclophosphamide
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