Cervical cancer is a gynecological cancer that is more common in underdeveloped and developing countries. HPV (Human Papilloma Viruses) virus, which does not show many symptoms but is very contagious, causes this cancer. It is a virus that infects the genital area and spreads through sexual contact. HPV, which causes genital warts in women and men, can cause cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. Taking precautions and regular health checks to prevent the disease causing HPV virus helps early detection of the disease and success in treatment. Otherwise, the virus may continue to be infected during intercourse.
The HPV virus is very insidious and can continue to spread for months without any symptoms. Symptoms that occur mostly in the later stages of the disease include bloody discharge, post-intercourse bleeding and irregular menstrual bleeding. Bleeding immediately after sexual intercourse or the next day is called post-coital bleeding and is an important symptom. It may be an early sign of cervical cancer.
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Urine and fecal leakage from the vagina
- Back pain
- Leg pain
- Loss of appetite
- Pelvic pain
- Swollen feet
- Weight loss
- Bone pain and fractures
- Being polygamous
- Starting sexual intercourse before the age of 20
- The weakness of the immune system.
- Frequent viral and bacterial infections in genital organs
- Giving many births
- Low socioeconomic level
- Vitamin C and vitamin A deficiency
Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Protection from HPV CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends routine HPV vaccine for boys and girls aged 11-12. The ideal vaccination time is before the sexual experience has just begun, that is, before contact with the HPV virus. When HPV is infected, the vaccine may not be as effective as taking it at the recommended time.
The smear test is a very simple and painless cervical cancer screening method. It is very important for all women who have started their active sexual life over the age of 21 to have a smear test once a year to protect them from cervical cancer.
Tests used in the diagnosis and staging of cervical cancer
- Rectovaginal examination
- CT or BAT scan
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
- PET (Positrom Emission Tomography) scan
Cervical cancer stages
- Stage 0: Abnormal cells are in the innermost layer of the cervix.
- Stage I: Cancer cells are found only in the cervix. Tumor size can range from 3 mm to 4 cm.
- Stage II A: Cancer has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two-thirds of the vagina, but not to the tissues around the uterus.
- Stage II B: Cancer has spread out of the cervix to the upper two-thirds of the vagina and tissues around the uterus.
- Stage III A: Cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina but not to the pelvic wall.
- Stage III B: Cancer has spread to the pelvic wall or blocked the ureters, which are tubes where the kidneys attach to the bladder.
- Stage IV: Cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other parts of the body outside of the cervix.