Diseases of the Female Reproductive System: Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer has been defined as the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix, which is the part below the uterus it opens to the vagina. A Pap test is a typical procedure through which testing for cervical cancer is done. In fact, early detection of the disease enables a successful treatment (Richardson et al, 2010, p. 1769). Cell abnormalities are reported through the Bethesda system, which classifies them as either an abnormality of squamous cells or an abnormality of glandular cells. Under the squamous cells, abnormalities are either LSIL (Low-grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion) or HSIL (High-grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion). On the other hand, under the glandular cells, abnormalities are either Adenocarcinoma or AGC.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is the common cause of cervical cancer, though not all HPV causes it. About 90% of cervical cancer cases directly result from the HPV virus, while other causes, such as smoking, explain the remaining 10% of cervical cancer cases. It should be noted that regular pap tests are recommended, as HPV may stay longer in the human body after infections before cancerous symptoms start to be exhibited.

Symptoms that one may suffer from cancer include unexplained bleeding from the vagina and bleeding during sexual intercourse. Another sign includes vaginal discharge, a situation where one should take all precautions regarding cervical cancer. Diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer depend on regular tests that would reveal it in the early stages, enabling a successful treatment. Applicable treatments for cancer patients include surgery such as hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. In many instances and depending on the stage of growth, the treatments described can be administered separately, combined, or even repeatedly. Nevertheless, some procedures in treatment have long-lasting effects on the victim, such as hysterectomy, which renders one incapable of bearing children. The most well-known mechanism of protection against cervical cancer is through regular Pap tests. In fact, regular tests enable an individual to take precautionary measures once abnormal growth of cells is noted (Singson, 2006). Moreover, persons aged below twenty-six years can take a vaccination, which will protect them against infection of two main types of HPV (Kraszewski, 2008). Other mechanisms for preventing cervical cancer are abstinence or practicing safe sex. Indeed, sex is one major way that the cancer-causing virus is transmitted.

It should be noted that just as is the case with all other infections, cervical cancer develops through predefined progressive stages, as shown below. The progression does not imply distinct characteristics but is a summary of the typical scene in the development of cervical cancer. Moreover, the procedure of treatment applied at the different stages varies from one stage to another in the progression cycle. 



Cervical cancer stages. (2012, January 1). Retrieved May 3, 2015, from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/cervical-cancer/treatment/cervical-cancer-stages

Kraszewski S., (2008). Cervical cancer: screening, risk, and immunization.Practice Nurse, 36(6): 14

Nobelprize.org. (2008, January 1). Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier Win Nobel Prize for Discovery of HIV. Retrieved May 3, 2015, from http://www.thebody.com/content/art48915.html

Richardson L. C. et al, (2010). Timeliness of Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Initiation of Treatment in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, 1996–2005. American Journal of Public Health, 100(9): 1769–1776

Singson, R. B. (2006, Dec 09). Preventing cervical cancer through the pap smear. McClatchy – Tribune Business News Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/459647712?accountid=45049

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