Mahesh Memorial Trust




Cancer Of The Cervix

Cancer of the cervix, also called cervical cancer, is the leading cause of cancer amongst women in India. There are more than 70,000 cases of cancer of the cervix to be found in the country.
Risk Factors:
Initiation of sexual intercourse before age 18
Many sexual partners
Early age of marriage
First pregnancy at an early age
Four or more number of pregnancies
Women with poor personal hygiene
Symptoms
Bleeding after sexual intercourse
Bleeding in between menses or post menopausal bleeding
Excessive white discharge (leucorrhoea)
Diagnosis
Pelvic exam - The doctor checks the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum. The doctor feels these organs for any abnormality in their shape or size.
Pap smear test - An easy way to detect early changes in cells of the cervix, the lower end of the uterus or womb. A Pap smear is taken during an internal examination of the vagina. It is important that all women have a Pap smear test every two years.
Colposcopy - A widely used method to check the cervix for abnormal areas
Conization or cone biopsy - Allows the pathologist to see whether the abnormal cells have invaded tissue beneath the surface of the cervix. Conization also may be used as treatment for a pre cancerous lesion if the entire abnormal area can be removed.
Staging in Cervical Cancer
Stage 0 or Carcinoma in Situ - The cancer is found in the first layer of cells lining the cervix only and has not invaded the deeper tissues of the cervix.
Stage I - The cancer is found in the cervix only. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB. The former refers to a very small amount of cancer that cannot be seen without a microscope and is found in the tissues of the cervix. The cancer is not deeper than 5 millimeters (less than 1/4 inch) and not wider than 7 millimeters (about 1/4 inch). The latter means the tumor is still within the cervix and either cannot be seen without a microscope and is deeper than 5 millimeters (less than 1/4 inch) or wider than 7 millimeters (about 1/4 inch); or can be seen without a microscope and may be larger than 4 centimeters (about 1 1/2 inches).
Stage II - The cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips). Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB. The former refers to cancer that has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two thirds of the vagina but not to tissues around the uterus and the latter refers to cancer that has spread beyond the cervix to the upper two thirds of the vagina and to the tissues around the uterus.
Stage III - The cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina and may have spread to the pelvic wall and nearby lymph nodes. Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB. The former refers to cancer cells that have spread to the lower third of the vagina but not to the pelvic wall and the latter refers to cancer cells that have spread to the pelvic wall and/or the tumor has become large enough to block the ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder). This blockage can cause the kidneys to enlarge or stop working. Cancer cells may also have spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis.
Stage IV - The cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other parts of the body. Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB. The former refers to cancer that has spread to the bladder or rectal wall and may have spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis and the latter refers to cancer that has spread beyond the pelvis and pelvic lymph nodes to other places in the body, such as the abdomen, liver, intestinal tract, or lungs.
Recurrent cervical cancer - Recurrent cervical cancer is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. Recurrent cervical cancer may come back in the cervix or in other parts of the body.
Side Effects of the Treatment
Extreme fatigue
Radiation dermatitis - Skin covering the radiated area becomes red, dry, itchy, and may show signs of scaling off. This will slowly settle down after radiation ceases, but there may be a permanent 'bronzing' of the skin.
Radiation also may cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, urinary discomfort and fall in the white blood cells.
Skin rashes, loss of hair, tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes and hearing loss.