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Dysplasia Cervical Cancer - Care in Cervical Cancer
Cancer is a pretty scary word, no doubt about it. Cervical Cancer is certainly no exception to this rule. When you hear that you might have something like cervical cancer, it can scare you to the point of needing new underwear, among other things. You might not be able to think of questions that youíd want to ask your doctor.
Well, read on. Maybe I can clear up some general stuff for you. Letís start with what cervical cancer is.
Cervical cancer is probably one of the most common cancers to affect the female reproduction organs. In approximately 95% of cervical cancer cases, various strains of the Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is responsible. Yes, ladies, this virus is sexually transmitted.
When women are exposed to HPV, the immune system protects most women from this virusí harm approximately 95% of the time. The women that do get it are between the ages of 30 and 55.
I have got bad news, worse news, and a small piece of good news. In the US, almost 13,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. The good news is that with pap smear screening the death rate from cervical cancer has dropped by roughly 70% since the 1940ís.
There are some signs and symptoms that could signal a problem. Here are some of the things that women should to keep an eye out for. But donít scare yourself sick though. Most womenís immune systems will fight off the virus. The list of signs and symptoms are relatively short. First is vaginal bleeding after intercourse or menopause or in between periods. Second, a watery bloody vaginal discharge that might heavy or have a foul odor. Third, in the later stages of the disease, thereís a dull backache and general poor health. With regular annual Pap smears can help prevent and catch any signs of abnormalities early.
Because HPV is sexually transmitted and it causes cervical cancer, there are risk factors that should be taken into consideration.
Having many sexual partners plays a part. The more sexual partners that someone has and the number of partners that her partner has increases the risk of getting HPV. You donít just have sex with a person but you have sex with every person that person had ever had sex with, male or female.
Early sexual activity can be a contributing factor in getting HPV. If a girl engages in sexual intercourse before she is 18 years old, her risk of contracting HPV goes up because her bodyís cells are less mature so she is more susceptible to the precancerous cells or stages that might be caused by HPV.
Other sexually transmitted diseases might also factor in to the risks. If you have had other STDís, for example, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, you might have been exposed to HPV as well.
Exposure doesnít mean you have an overly active sex life. It just means you were exposed to it.
So far no one knows how smoking is connected to cervical cancer except that tobacco use may play a part in precancerous changes, including cervical cancer. Cigarette smoking might also affect a womanís ability to respond to HPV.
Pap smear tests are really important for screening and making a diagnosis. A Pap smear is when the doctor takes cells from the cervix smears it on a glass slide. The slide is sent to a lab, where a technician, called cytotechnologist, checks the cells on the slide for abnormalities. Then a doctor-a pathologist-checks all abnormal cells to see if any are precancerous and make a final diagnosis. Pap tests do a pretty good job of detecting abnormalities. When they say dysplasia, they mean the abnormal cells and it is the precancerous stage of cervical cancer. Dysplasia shows up in the cervixís outer layer. If the abnormal cells arenít treated, those cells could spread in various stages to the cervix and the rest of the reproductive organs as well as to other parts of the body. As long as precancerous conditions and cancer are caught at the preinvasive stage and treated, itís usually not life threatening. A lot of times it can be done in the doctorís office or on an outpatient basis.
When I was told that I had dysplasia, I went to my doctorís office for a colpscopy, which is an exam where my doctor removed some tissue from my cervix for biopsy. With the biopsy, it is examined for abnormalities-dysplasia or cancer-preinvasive or invasive, so if treatment is needed, they decide whatís necessary.
Treatment depends on whether itís in the pre-invasive or invasive stages. Treatment seems to vary with the circumstances.
With the pre-invasive stages, treatment could range from simple surgery to a hysterectomy. For me, I went through the colpscopy in the doctorís office. When the biopsy came back, my doctor scheduled me for an out patient procedure at the hospital, called a leep cone. A wire was used, transmitting an electrical current to remove a cone shaped piece of tissue from my cervix. They put me out for this. A little bit sore for a while but that was all.
Treatment for the invasive stages could be anything from a hysterectomy to radiation therapy to chemotherapy. Even going this far most women lead full, productive lives. You and your doctor can figure what you need.
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