Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women and is caused by 98% HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). It is known that at least 2 out of every 100 women get this cancer at some point in their life. However, with the measures taken for the treatment of cervical cancer, the rate of women not encountering cancer is very high throughout their lives.
Cervical cancer differs from ovarian cancer due to the region where it occurs. Uterine cancer begins in cells called the uterine mucosa that covers the tissue inside the uterus. The point where this cancer starts is the part of the cervix that connects the uterus and the genital tract with the vagina. As a result of cancer cells growing in this region, cervical cancer occurs.
What are cervical cancer symptoms?
Vaginal bleeding is the most common form of cervical cancer symptoms. Vaginal bleeding can occur after menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse or after menopause. Another common symptom is pain during sexual intercourse. Abnormal excessive vaginal discharge, abnormal breakdown of the menstrual cycle are some of the early signs.
In the advanced stage, anemia develops due to abnormal vaginal bleeding. There is a pain in the lower abdomen, leg, and back that do not pass. Due to the mass, urinary tract obstruction may occur and cause problems while urinating. As with other cancers, weight loss accompanies these symptoms.
Urine or feces may leak into the vagina. This leak is seen as a result of fistula formation between the bladder or large intestine and the vagina.
Causes of Cervical Cancer?
However, HPV is not the only cause of cervical cancer. Most women with HPV do not develop cervical cancer. Some other risk factors, such as smoking, HIV infection, increase the chances of women exposed to HPV to develop cervical cancer.
What Is HPV, How Is It Transmitted?
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cancer. HPV (Human papilloma virus), which is seen in more than 95% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer, is a virus that infects the genital area and spreads by contact. It causes warts in the sexual area, especially in women, and cancer in the cervix, external genital area, and reproductive tract.
The HPV virus is very insidious and can continue to spread for months without any symptoms. Situations where the symptoms of the virus are encountered a few months or years after infection are called “silent infection”.
The HPV virus not only causes genital warts and cancer in women but also puts male health at risk. The HPV virus can also cause warts in men and turn into penile cancer over time. In people with a strong immune system, the HPV virus can be brought under control before it turns into a disease.
However, in people who do not have a strong immune system, the disease can spread secretly for years without any symptoms. Since the infection does not cause any complaints in women or men, the virus will continue to be transmitted as long as sexual intercourse continues and hence it is important to go for treatment of cervical cancer as early as possible.