Cervical Cancer (Cervix)

What is Cervical Cancer (Cervix)?

Cervical cancer, which is a type of gynecological cancer that occurs in the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina, is a type of cancer that occurs due to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. Cervical cancer puts women between the ages of 30-50 and who have an active sexual life at risk.Although it is a type of disease that can be treated with early diagnosis and diagnosis methods, it is still among the deadliest cancer types in the world in terms of mortality. It is seen that sexually transmitted HPV plays a significant role in cervical cancer, which is more common in newly developing or underdeveloped countries. Polygamy and unprotected sexual intercourse may facilitate the emergence of this disease in women. Depending on the type of cell in which cervical cancer first appears, the disease manifests in two different ways. Squamous cell carcinoma, which is seen in 80-90% of all cervical cancer cases, is in the first and most common group. Cancerous cells are often seen in the lining areas of the outer surface of the uterus. Adenocarcinoma, which is in the second group, is seen only in 10-20% of all cervical cancer cases. In this type of cancer, diseased cells appear in epithelial cells in the lower birth canal.

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer (Cervix)?

Cervix (cervical cancer) is usually detected late. The symptoms of cervical cancer, which is a type of cancer that may not show symptoms in the early stages, can also be confused with the symptoms of some different diseases. This situation is among the factors that make the early diagnosis of the disease difficult. When symptoms appear, they are often confused with menstrual cramps or urinary tract infections. The late symptoms can be listed as follows:

  • Bleeding that occurs despite being outside the menstrual period or even in the menopausal period
  • Semlly or odorless discharges
  • Itchy vaginal discharge
  • Pains in the pelvis area
  • Urinating more often and incontinence than before
  • Burning and pain during urination
  • Severe and heavy bleeding
  • Bleeding during or immediately after sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding during a shower, sexual intercourse, or pelvic exam
  • Unexplained and persistent back and waist pain

How Is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?

Healthy cells in the cervix increase, multiply, and then die within a certain period. Cells whose DNA structure is disrupted continue to grow uncontrollably; they do not die, and tumors form in the region due to this growth. These cancer cell tumors continue to spread in the body by metastasizing to nearby and distant points. As a result of research, precisely what causes the disease is not known. However, the HPV virus certainly has a significant influence on the spread and emergence of the disease. HPV, which is a type of sexually transmitted virus, can also be transmitted through different contact ways, such as touching. There are more than 100 types of HPV virus, and most of these viruses are harmless. HPV types that are harmful and cause changes in DNA cells cause cervical cancer. Among the HPV viruses that have been conclusively proven to cause disease, HPV 16 and HPV 18 viruses are only two of the most common types of viruses that cause cervical cancer. It is now possible to understand whether these viruses that cause the disease are in the body with advanced HPV DNA examination, which can be done in addition to the smear test taken from the cervix.

Is it Possible to Prevent Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer (Cervix) is a type of cancer that can be prevented. Although it is possible to prevent the disease with vaccination, factors such as a sexual life that takes care of protected and healthy and balanced eating habits are among the most critical factors in preventing cancer. Performing HPV tests and smear tests regularly is the only way to detect the disease early.Because cervical cancer, which does not make its presence felt until the first stage, can only be diagnosed in this way. Since smoking and alcohol use weaken the power of metabolism, it also increases the risk of developing the disease. Therefore, ending such harmful habits makes a significant difference in the prevention of cervical cancer. To prevent the disease, it is necessary to protect hygiene in common areas such as pools, Turkish baths, saunas, and toilets. To prevent the transmission of the disease, the person needs to show sensitivity individually, and the partner needs to lead a life by hygienic rules and prefer monogamy. HPV vaccination is appropriate after the age of 12. However, completing the vaccine before the start of the first sexual life is essential in terms of its protection.

What are the Side Effects of the HPV Vaccine?

The HPV vaccine has a high rate of protection against the disease. The vaccine, effective against HPV 16 and HPV 18 viruses, which have carcinogenic effects, may cause some temporary side effects in the body, as in many other vaccine types. Among these side effects, the most frequently observed are redness and swelling in the area where the vaccine is administered, tiredness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rashes on the body, and fever.

Is Cervical Cancer Contagious?

The HPV virus, which is considered to cause the disease, is contagious. The virus is most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Male and female reproductive organs infected with the virus can transmit the virus. Although having sexual intercourse using a condom reduces the risk of transmission, it cannot be said to prevent it altogether. Places such as toilets, saunas, Turkish baths, and pools, which are common areas, also facilitate disease transmission. For this reason, people who have not been vaccinated should be cautious when using such common areas.

Why is the Smear Test Important?

The fact that cervical cancer is an insidious and progressive disease without symptoms makes diagnosis and treatment difficult. A regular smear test is a test that gives results in an average of 1 week with a swab taken from the cervix. The test enables the early determination of whether a cancer formation threatens the person's body. Cervical cancer, which is detected at an early stage and before the disease begins to show symptoms, can be easily treated in this way. It is important to regularly perform the smear test, which is a necessary method for early diagnosis, together with the HPV DNA test.

What are the Treatment Methods for Cervical Cancer?

The treatment of cervical cancer is much easier than in the past, thanks to today's advanced technologies. In the past treatments, the entire uterus was removed instead of removing the area where the cancerous cells were found in the first stage and applying treatments only for that area. With new technologies, removing only the lesioned area with a simple surgical intervention or treating it with freezing methods such as cryotherapy is possible. Criteria such as whether the patient wants a child, age, and general health also affect the treatment method selection. In the more advanced stages of the disease, the treatment method is performed in two different ways. In the first of these methods, the area where the disease is located, the surrounding areas, and lymph nodes are surgically removed. After surgical intervention, chemotherapy and radiation therapy (radiotherapy) are applied consecutively or simultaneously to some patients. In the second method, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are given together without any surgical intervention at the place of cancer formation. The second type of application is generally preferred for patients who are in the advanced stages of the disease and who cannot be operated on.

Created at 11.10.2023 06:20
Updated at 20.05.2024 11:19
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