Cervical Cancer: Explanation, Treatment and Prevention
Cervical Cancer Explained
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix,
which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Most
cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with high-risk types of
human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.
Cervical cancer or cervical cancer is one of the most common
types of cancer in women. Based on research in 2020, there were more than
600,000 cases of cervical cancer with 342,000 deaths worldwide.
Types of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is divided into two types, namely:
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of cervical
cancer. KSS begins in cervical squamous cells, namely the cells that line the
outside of the cervix.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cervical cancer that begins in
the gland cells in the cervical canal.
Although rare, the two types of cervical cancer above can
occur simultaneously. Cervical cancer can also occur in cervical cells other
than squamous cells or glandular cells, but this is very rare.
In fact, most sexually active women and men will be infected
at some point in their lives, and some may be infected repeatedly. More than
90% of the infected population eventually recover from the infection. Although
most HPV infections resolve spontaneously and cause no symptoms, persistent
infections can develop into cervical cancer in women.
Causes of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer occurs when healthy cells undergo changes or
mutations. This mutation causes these cells to grow abnormally and
uncontrollably, thus forming cancer cells.
It is not yet known what causes changes in the genes of
these cells. However, this condition is known to be associated with human
papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which can be transmitted through sexual
Some individuals are at higher risk of developing cervical
cancer if they have the following risk factors :
- Having another sexually transmitted disease
- Married/started sexual activity at a young age (<20 years)
- Changing sexual partners or having sexual relations with individuals who frequently change partners
- Active or passive smoking
- Have a weak immune system
- There is a family history of cervical cancer
Life Expectancy for Cervical Cancer Patients
The life expectancy of cervical cancer sufferers depends on
the stage they are experiencing. This figure is an illustration of the
percentage of sufferers who are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed with
For example, a life expectancy of 80% means that 80 out of
100 sufferers survive 5 years or more after being diagnosed with cervical
The following are the life expectancy figures for cervical
cancer sufferers based on the stage experienced:
- Stage 1: 90% or more
- Stage 2: 60–80%
- Stage 3: 50%
- Stage 4: ≤30%
Treatment and Prevention of Cervical Cancer
Treatment and prevention strategies for cervical cancer
involve a combination of medical interventions, screenings, and lifestyle
measures. Here are key aspects of the treatment and prevention of cervical
Conization: Removal of a cone-shaped piece of tissue from
Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus may be recommended for
more advanced cases or when other treatments are not effective.
External Beam Radiation: Targets cancer cells from outside
Brachytherapy: Involves placing radioactive sources directly
into or near the tumor.
Drugs are used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
Often used in conjunction with radiation therapy.
Specific drugs target particular molecules involved in
Enhances the body's immune system to recognize and destroy
Participation in research studies exploring new treatments.
Vaccination against high-risk HPV types (e.g., HPV-16 and
HPV-18) is recommended for adolescents before sexual activity begins.
Pap Test (Pap Smear): Regular screenings can detect abnormal
changes in cervical cells before they become cancerous.
HPV Test: Identifies the presence of high-risk HPV types.
Early diagnosis through routine screenings improves the
chances of successful treatment.
Safe Sexual Practices:
Using barrier methods (condoms) during sexual activity can
reduce the risk of HPV transmission.
Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of cervical cancer and
improve overall health.
Limiting Sexual Partners:
Limiting the number of sexual partners can reduce the risk
of HPV exposure.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet
and regular exercise, supports overall well-being.
Public health initiatives promoting awareness of cervical
cancer, the importance of vaccinations, and the benefits of screenings.
Regular follow-up with healthcare providers for those with a
history of abnormal Pap smears or cervical abnormalities.
It's important for individuals to be proactive about their
health, participate in routine screenings, and discuss vaccination options with
their healthcare providers. Prevention and early detection significantly
improve the outcomes for cervical cancer. Regular follow-up care after
treatment is also essential for monitoring and managing any potential