Women's Wellness of SA

Cervical Cancer: What You Need to Know

woman free from cervical cancer looking happy and women's health written in sky blue color on the front

Comprehensive Guide to Cervical Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is primarily caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Understanding cervical cancer, its causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options can significantly improve outcomes.

Causes of Cervical Cancer

HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical cancer. There are many types of HPV, but only a few cause cervical cancer. The virus is transmitted through sexual contact, and most sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lives.

Global Statistics

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide. According to recent estimates, approximately 570,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 300,000 women die from the disease annually.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Common symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (e.g., bleeding after sex, between periods, or after menopause)
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • A lump in the cervix or vagina

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to see a doctor promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improve survival chances.

Screening and Prevention

Screening Tests: Screening tests, such as the Pap test, can detect early signs of cervical cancer. The Pap test identifies abnormal cells on the cervix that could develop into cancer.

HPV Vaccine: The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys aged 11 or 12 to protect against the virus.

Treatment Options

The treatment for cervical cancer varies based on the stage and the patient’s overall health. Common treatments include:

  • Surgery: To remove cancerous tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: To target and kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy: To destroy cancer cells using high-energy radiation.

Prognosis

The prognosis for cervical cancer depends on the cancer stage at diagnosis. Early-stage cervical cancer has a survival rate of about 90%, while advanced-stage cervical cancer has a survival rate of around 30%.

Support and Coping

If diagnosed with cervical cancer, there are several steps to manage the situation:

  • Discuss Treatment Options: Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each option.
  • Seek Support: Join a support group or seek counseling to cope with emotional and physical challenges.
  • Maintain Physical Health: Eat a healthy diet, get enough rest, and exercise regularly.
  • Stay Positive and Hopeful: Advances in cervical cancer treatment continue to improve outcomes.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Several factors increase the risk of cervical cancer:

  • Age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Smoking
  • Weakened immune system

Preventive measures include:

  • Getting regular Pap and HPV tests
  • Getting vaccinated against HPV
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Reducing stress

By adopting these practices, women can lower their risk of cervical cancer.

Conclusion

If you have concerns about cervical cancer, consult your doctor. If you are a residence of San Antonio, Universal City, and Schertz in Texas you can consult at our Women’s Wellness Clinic. Our specialist doctors for sexually transmitted diseases will help you in diagnosis and treatment of the cervical cancer. There are many ways to reduce the risk and ensure early diagnosis and treatment if necessary. By staying informed and proactive, you can protect your health and improve your chances of successful treatment if diagnosed.

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