Cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment
Pap-test is recognized as the most popular test for cervical cancer. According to health experts, Pap-test helps to reduce women risks of cervical cancer. Pap test is a simple test used to look at cervical cells. Pap tests can find cervical cancer or abnormal cells that can lead to cervical cancer.
Finding and treating abnormal cells can prevent most cervical cancer. Also, the Pap test can help find cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be effective.
If you have abnormal Pap or HPV test results, your doctor will suggest other tests to make a diagnosis – Colposcopy and Biopsy.
Cervical cancer staging
If the biopsy shows that you have cancer, your doctor needs to learn the extent (stage) of the disease to help you choose the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the tumor has invaded nearby tissues, whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. Cervical cancer spreads most often to nearby tissues in the pelvis, lymph nodes, or the lungs. It may also spread to the liver or bones.
Your doctor will do a pelvic exam, feel for swollen lymph nodes, and may remove additional tissue. To learn the extent of disease, the doctor may order some of the following tests – Chest x-rays, CT scan, MRI, PET scan.
The stage is based on where cancer is found. These are the stages of invasive cervical cancer:
Stage I: The tumor has invaded the cervix beneath the top layer of cells. Cancer cells are found only in the cervix.
Stage II: The tumor extends to the upper part of the vagina. It may extend beyond the cervix into nearby tissues toward the pelvic wall (the lining of the part of the body between the hips). The tumor does not invade the lower third of the vagina or the pelvic wall.
Stage III: The tumor extends to the lower part of the vagina. It may also have invaded the pelvic wall. If the tumor blocks the flow of urine, one or both kidneys may not be working well.
Stage IV: The tumor invades the bladder or rectum. Or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Recurrent cancer: The cancer was treated, but has returned after a period of time during which it could not be detected. The cancer may show up again in the cervix or in other parts of the body.
Cervical cancer treatment
Women with cervical cancer have many treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of methods.
The choice of treatment depends mainly on the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. The treatment choice may also depend on whether you would like to become pregnant someday.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices, the expected results of each, and the possible side effects. You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.
You’ll need regular checkups after treatment for cervical cancer. Checkups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated if needed. If you have any health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.
Your doctor will check for the return of cancer. Even when the cancer seems to have been completely removed or destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in the body after treatment. Checkups may include a physical exam, Pap tests, and chest x-rays.
Cervical cancer at a glance
- Risk factors for cancer of the cervix have been identified.
- Regular pelvic exams and Pap testing can detect precancerous changes in the cervix.
- Precancerous changes in the cervix may be treated with cryosurgery, cauterization, or laser surgery.
- The most common symptom of cancer of the cervix is abnormal bleeding.
- Cancer of the cervix can be diagnosed using a Pap test or other procedures that sample the cervix tissue.
- Cancer of the cervix requires different treatment than cancer that begins in other parts of the uterus.
(information from MedicineNet.com – http://www.medicinenet.com/cervical_cancer/article.htm#cervix)
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