Cervical Cancer

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The cervix is a part of female reproductive system. It is the narrow base of the uterus which connects the uterus with the vagina. During labor it dilates and the fetus passes from uterus to the vagina.

Early Cervical Cancer Signs:

The development of signs of cervical cancer takes place very gradually over a period of several years. The cells on the cervix change from normal to abnormal during this course. This change to abnormality is the first indication of cervical cancer. The abnormality of cells on surface of cervix can be of different types which include:

Dysplasia: This is a term used in pathology to refer an abnormality in maturation of cells in tissue. Usually it is increase in immature cells and corresponding decrease in number and location of mature cells. In cervix cancer this occurs only in the mucosal surface but does not invade through basement membrane to reach the deeper tissues. Hence it is called 'Epithelial dysplasia'.

Squamous intraepithelial lesions: The cervix is made up of squamous epithelial cells. Sometimes these cells appear very atypical under microscope. This condition is called squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL). This can be either low-grade SIL where the abnormality of cells is less and cells appear almost normal or else it can be high-grade SIL where the abnormality of cells is very mature. This sign indicates high risk of cervix cancer and sometimes referred to as 'carcinoma insitu'

Pre cancerous changes of cervix don't usually produce symptoms and thus remain undetected unless a PAP test is performed along with pelvic exam.

PAP test: PAP smears are best screening technique for evaluating the cells on the cervix. These test results which can be categorized into 5 classes, indicate the presence of cancerous and precancerous cells in cervix.

Class I: This depicts that the cells are normal and no scope of cervical cancer at present.
Class II: It indicates presence of inflammation and irritation of cervical cells.
Class III: This shows that true cervical epithelial dysplasia is present which can range from mild to severe.
Class IV: This says that cervical cancer is most possible as it reflects the presence of carcinoma insitu.
Class V: Invasive cervical signs are present in this class of results.

Class II and Class III results suggest taking a second opinion before blindly rushing to surgical methods. Because the cause of cervical dysplasia can be more common one like viral infection by HPV( Human papilloma virus), unwanted sex, progesterone deficiency spermicide, estrogen dominance, oral contraceptives, tampons or condoms.

Normally early cervix cancer doesn't produce any signs. So, in many cases it remains undiagnosed. This factor leads to advancement of cancer indicated by vaginal bleeding after intercourse, pelvic pain, bleeding between periods which may become harmful and finally to fatally dangerous. Because of this the women are advised to undergo regular checkups starting when slightest of signs first occur.

So the knowledge on the signs of cervical cancer and regular PAP tests are needed to identify it at early stages preventing its progress to perilous stages.