Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer that affects the cervix of a woman. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by Human Papilloma Virus which enters a woman’s body through the first sexual act.
However, Human Papilloma Virus is not the only cause of cervical cancer. There are many other factors that can lead to cervical cancer like diet, lifestyle, childlessness, injury to the cervix, frequent childbirth, infections of the cervix, heredity etc. These factors are as important as the others and cannot be ignored.
Coming to the various types of cervical cancers, we have to start from the abnormal cell changes that take place at the initial stage of cervical cancer. The most common type of cervical cancer that affects women is squamous cell carcinoma.
Common Type Of Cervical Cancer
Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Diagnosis
Up to ninety percent of the women who get cervical cancer get squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer develops in the lining of the cervix. The squamous cells are cells that cover the surface layer of the exocervical region. The cancer often originates at the region where the endocervix and the exocervix meet.
Squamous cell carcinomas can be detected early when the abnormal cell changes take place. At its early stage, known as cervical dysplasia, the cancer is almost 100 percent treatable and the treatment methods are such that women can retain their fertility and can protect their organs and healthy cells from damage caused due to more rigorous treatment methods.
Adenocarcenoma is very rare and affects only between 10-20 percent of the population. Originating in the glands that produce mucous which are located in the endocervix, adenocarcinomas are aggressive forms of cervical cancer and needs to be detected early enough for effective treatment. Late detection of this type of cancer does not offer much hope to the patient. Adenocarcinomas are more common among women of younger age, between 20-30.
Some forms of cervical cancer shows the characteristics of both squamous cell and adenocarcinoma. These types of cancer are called adenosquamous carcinoma. Since they have mixed characteristics, the treatment methods too have mixed qualities.
Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer
Though there are many types of HPV, there are only a few that causes cervical cancer. These are the strains of HPV Viruses 16,18,31,33 and 45. Infection caused by these viruses can cause abnormal cell changes inside the cervix which may or may not develop into cervical cancer depending on the immunity of the person.
Other factors that can cause cervical cancer are multiple pregnancies when the woman has delivered more than five children, having sexual intercourse before the age of eighteen when the reproductive organs are not completely developed, multiple sexual partners, smoking etc.
Prevention of Cervical Cancer
The most important thing to do in order to prevent the occurrence of cervical cancer is to get vaccinated for the same. As vaccination protects against only certain forms of virus, it is also important to schedule a pelvic examination every year and also keep watch on unnatural symptoms that could be the warning signal.