The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ, pear-shaped, which is located in women lower abdomen, between the bladder and rectum. It is where the fetus develops and grows. The cervix forms a channel that opens into the vagina, which leads out of the body. The lining of the cervix is continuous with the vagina and is called ectocervix, while the covering cervical canal or duct, which leads to uterine cavity is called endocervix. Most tumors occur in the junction of the endocervix with ectocervix. Cervical cancer develops when normal cells in the cervix begin to change and grow uncontrollably. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas; they are named for the type of cells where it originated. Cervical cancer occurs most often in women between 40 and 55 years old. At this age, many women affected have family and work commitments, so its impact on society is not negligible.
Most women have no signs or symptoms when having pre-cancers or in the early stages of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer symptoms usually do not appear until cancer has invaded other tissues or organs.
It may have the following symptoms:
– Spotting or light bleeding between menstruation, or after it,
– Longer and heavier than usual menstrual bleeding,
– Bleeding after intercourse or during the pelvic examination by the doctor,
– Pain during intercourse,
– Bleeding after menopause (postmenopausal uterine bleeding).
– Increased vaginal discharge.
When these symptoms appear, we must pay attention as those mimic less serious diseases. Early diagnosis, especially in the precancerous stage, improves the chances of cure. If any of these symptoms occur, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.
Globally, the areas of highest incidence and mortality are for the least developed countries: Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The most economically developed countries have a lower incidence.
The HPV, which follows the route of sexual transmission is the main causal agent.
Through the combined effect of screening along with treatment from the earliest stages of the disease, mortality from cervical cancer has declined significantly over the last fifty years in developed countries.
The five-year survival (percentage of women who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) for all stages of cervical cancer is 71%. When detected at an early stage, invasive cervical cancer has a five-year survival of 92%.