Cervical cancer is the third most common form among cancers of the female reproductive organs and can have serious consequences if not diagnosed early. Approximately 500,000 women die each year from cervical cancer, most of them in the developing world. The most important difference between cervical cancer from other cancers is that the cause is known and can be prevented. The cause of cervical cancer is the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus.
In women infected with the Human Papillomavirus, several microscopic lesions develop in the cervix before cervical cancer develops, and these changes are pre-cancerous. These precancerous lesions, called cervical dysplasia, can be detected by pap smear examination taken from the cervix. The initiating factor in cervical dysplasia and carcinogenesis is Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Genital HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide today. It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sex.
What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?
Many factors cause cervical cancer. HPV infection is responsible for almost all HPV and cervical cancers. The mode of transmission is unprotected sexual intercourse.
Not having a regular Pap Smear Test: Cervical cancer precursor lesions can be detected with a regular smear test, and cancer development can be prevented by removing these precursor lesions. However, not having regular tests will prevent the early detection of cancer that may develop.
Smoking: Studies show that women who smoke have a higher risk of developing cancer than non-smokers. Therefore, smoking is an important risk factor for the development of cervical cancer.
Family history of cervical cancer: There is no evidence of an increased risk for cervical cancer with a history of cervical cancer in a first-degree relative.
How to Diagnose Cervical Cancer?
Routine gynecological examination is important in diagnosing cervical cancer. In patients with cervical problems, abnormal cells are detected as a result of the Pap Smear test. In these cases, the Pap Smear test, which can be repeated at regular intervals, can be performed. If necessary, intrauterine imaging can be performed with a colposcopy device in some cases or HPV-oncogenic types (causing cancer), and a biopsy is performed if necessary. For this reason, it is extremely important to perform the Pap Smear test and HPV typing alone or together (co-test) in the diagnosis of cervical cancer.
How to Treat Cervical Cancer?
In the treatment of cervical cancer, many parameters such as the general condition of the patient and the level of diffusion of the disease are evaluated. In cases requiring surgical treatment, the entire uterus and cervix must be removed. In the treatment of cervical cancer, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy are also used, as in other cancer treatments.
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