The cervix is the connective tissue that links the vagina to the uterus. It is located at the lowest point of the uterus and is made of fibromuscular tissue. The cervix is divided into two parts, the ectocervix, and the endocervix. The ectocervix can be seen from within the vagina by a gynaecologist and has an opening that allows movement between the uterus and the vagina. The endocervix is a tunnel that leads from within the cervix to the uterus.
The cervix secretes cervical mucus depending on the menstrual cycle in order to facilitate pregnancy. During delivery, the cervix dilates so that the baby can move through it.
Cervical cancer occurs when there is an abnormality in the D.N.A of the cells that causes them to turn malignant and multiply uncontrollably. It is best to treat cervical cancer in its early stage. One of the most common methods to diagnose cervical cancer is through a Pap test. Cervical cancer is generally caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be transmitted through sexual contact and can cause genital warts as well as cervical cancer. An infection of HPV may go away without any problems. But sometimes the consequences can be more dangerous.
That's why it's important for women to have regular Pap tests. A Pap test can find changes in cervical cells before they turn into cancer. If you treat these cell changes, you may prevent cervical cancer.
Abnormal cervical cell changes rarely cause symptoms. But you may have symptoms if those cell changes grow into cervical cancer.
SYMPTOMS OF CERVICAL CANCER
• Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods
• Post-menopause vaginal bleeding
• Bleeding after sex
• Pain during sex
• Abnormal vaginal discharge
THE IMPORTANCE OF PAP TESTS
A Pap test involves a doctor taking a small sample of cells from the cervix in order to evaluate them. If the test results show changes in the cells that are abnormal, the doctor might conduct further tests to check for cancerous or precancerous cells.
Treatment for cervical cancer includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The surgical procedures include conization and hysterectomy.
Cervical cancer is an issue that affects quite a few women. It affects their quality of life and has the potential to cause a lot of problems. However, with regular screening and Pap tests, cancer can be detected at an early stage and the patient has a much higher rate of survival.