Definition of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a malignant disease of the cervix. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
The preferred predilection site is the external os, especially from the cervical mucosa to the vaginal squamous epithelium.
Cervical cancer usually develops from cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). The cause of their development is usually a viral infection with certain high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Cervical cancer is often asymptomatic at first. However, spotting or postcoital bleeding, pain, and flesh-water-coloured, sweet-smelling discharge may occur as the condition progresses.
In the beginning, complete resection of the altered tissue through conization is often sufficient; later, remove the uterus and adjacent tissue.
It cab be cure vaccination. This is because the vaccine protects against the two most common high-risk HP viruses that cause cervical cancer.
Cervical Cancer: Symptoms
Cervical cancer usually does not cause any symptoms in the early stages. The precursors also go unnoticed for a long time.
Only over time do the malignant cell changes become noticeable with symptoms such as vaginal discharge (vaginal discharge) – it can be bloody or foul-smelling. Bleeding after sex container also be a sign of cervical cancer. The same applies to bleeding after exertion such as cycling, horseback riding or complicated bowel movements.
In women over the age of 35, heavy menstrual bleeding, intermenstrual bleeding or spotting is also considered to be suspected of being cancerous. In addition, bleeding after menopause can also be a symptom of cervical cancer.
The symptoms mentioned are not clear signs of cervical cancer! They can also have other causes. However, to be on the harmless side, you should check them out by a doctor.
Some patients also report pain in the lower abdomen. Unexplained weight loss is also common in women with cervical cancer.
In the advanced stages of cancer, there are signs that other organs are also affected. Some examples:
Lymphedema (swelling of the legs with moist, swollen skin ) develops when the lymphatic system is extensively affected.
Red urine can occur when cancer cells have invaded the urinary tract and bladder, causing bleeding into the bladder.
Deep back pain, which often radiates into the pelvis, is a possible sign of pelvic and spinal cancer.
Severe abdominal pain with paralysis of bowel movements is possible if the abdominal viscera are affected by cancer. If the intestines are affected, bowel movements can also be disturbed.
In the final stage, the tumor spreads throughout the body. Many vital organs then fail, ultimately leading to death.
treatment of Cervical Cancer
The type of treatment for cancer depends typically on how far advanced the disease is. However, other factors also influence therapy planning, for example, the general condition of the patient and whether she still wants to have children or is already going through menopause. Possible side effects and consequences of the particular therapy methods are taken into account.
Three treatment options for cervical cancer are available
Radiation ( radiotherapy )
drug treatment (chemotherapy and targeted therapies)
Some women only have a preliminary stage of cervical cancer (dysplasia). If these cell changes are only slight, people usually wait and see because they often resolve independently. The doctor can check this during regular check-ups.
Cervical Cancer: Surgery
In the early periods of cancer, surgery is an excellent treatment.
The goal is to completely excise the tumor, along with a margin of healthy tissue to be on the safe side. The total amount of tissue that needs to be removed depends on the size and extent of cancer.
There are several techniques available for surgery for cancer. There are also various access routes to remove the diseased tissue (via the vagina, an abdominal incision or a laparoscopy = laparoscopy ).
Conization: The conization mentioned above can be used for small tumors, clearly distinguished from healthy tissue. Here, the diseased cells are cut out in a cone shape and the surrounding healthy tissue. Pregnancy is still possible, but with an increased risk of premature birth. The cervix is more or less unstable after the procedure – depending on how much tissue must be removed. To be on the safe side, women should wait a while before having children after conization (the doctor treating you will give you more detailed information on this).
Trachelectomy: Sometimes conization cannot remove all cancerous tissue – a more extensive operation is required. However, if the patient still wants to have children, a so-called trachelectomy: The surgeon removes part of the cervix (up to two thirds) and the inner ligaments of the uterus. However, the inner cervix and the body of the uterus remain intact (the inner cervix is linked to the vagina).
Hysterectomy: When a woman with cervical cancer no longer wants children, the entire uterus is removed. The intervention is also necessary when the tumor has already grown more profound into the tissue. After this operation, the woman is no longer able to become pregnant.
If the procedure involves removing the uterus alone, it is called a simple hysterectomy. However, it is a radical hysterectomy if surrounding tissue also has to be excised (neighboring lymph nodes, the upper part of the vagina, etc.). After menopause, the two ovaries and fallopian tubes are usually removed in cancer patients. It is avoided in younger women to preserve hormone production in the ovaries.