What is Cervical Cancer? Cervical Cancer Symptoms: Pap Test & Vaccine

The cervix is the mouth of the uterus (womb). Rapid or abnormal cell reproduction of cells of the cervix causes cervical cancer. It is a slow growing cancer that initially may not have any symptoms but can be diagnosed by a simple test called the Pap smear. It is almost always caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). There are different HPVs and though all don’t cause cancer, it can be passed on through sexual intercourse. This can cause discomfort, cervical pain and could even lead to cancer. If diagnosed early through a Pap test, cervical cancer is curable.

How Does a Pap Test Help?
Pap test is study of the cervical smear to screen for cancerous and pre-cancerous cells.

How is a Pap Test Done?
The test is performed by opening up the vagina with an instrument called a speculum. A spatula is used to scrape the outer and inner surfaces of the cervix and then examined for detecting cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.

If you are already experiencing cervical cancer symptoms, your doctor might suggest a biopsy of tissue as well. What are some of these signs to look out for? Read on!

Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of cervical cancer appear only at the later stages. They include:
  • Abnormal bleeding or discharge of vagina that is not because of menstrual cycles, sex or injury.
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine or intercourse.
  • Discharge which produces a bad odour
Cervical Cancer Vaccine & Treatment
For those women who haven’t been affected by HPV infection, there is the option of a cervical cancer vaccine. It is important to have the vaccine before any sexual contact has started. If you are sexually active, then it increases your need to have this vaccine and to practice safe sex. The vaccine helps prevent infection from two HPVs, known to cause cervical cancer.

There are multiple ways to cure cervical cancer depending on the stage it has reached. As with all types of cancer, chemotherapy and radiation are some options for cure. In serious cases, a hysterectomy may have to be performed. In this surgery, the pelvic lymph nodes are removed. If the cancer has spread, the ovaries and fallopian tubes may also have to be removed. Women who undergo hysterectomy cannot bear children. 

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