Cervical cancer , a disease formerly perceived as fatal and surrounded by secrecy, has over the past few decades become one of the most preventable. However, cervical cancer remains a major problem even now mainly in those regions of the world where routine screening and human papillomavirus vaccination are not accessible to many patients.

What is cervical cancer?

This cancer develops because of abnormal cells on the cervix growing uncontrollably. Most of these abnormal cell changes grow slowly and can be discovered easily many years before cancer develops through usual screening such as Pap tests. It has to be appreciated that the majority of adult women have some abnormal cervical cells at one stage in their lifetime although very few will progress into cancer. It is reported that the leading cause of cervical cancer are consistent HPV infections with select strains of the virus.

Cervical cancer has no visible symptoms in its initial stages and that is why regular screening of this disease is so vital for early detection. As the cancer progresses, it may cause pelvic pain, sexual intercourse discomfort increases or there is abnormal vaginal bleeding and discharge. This type of cervical cancer at early stages is usually cured by surgery, radio and chemotherapies done individually but which integral number mostly depends on several conditions.

Types of cervical cancer

There are two primary types of cervical cancer: squamous cell carcinoma that develops on the flat and thin cells located at the bottom of the cervix, and adenocarcinoma occurring in glandular cells which are normally found covering the top part of the cervix.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

Although the initial stages of cervical cancer do not have obvious symptoms, this condition finally develops various signs and signals as it advances. Women may have abnormal and continuous vaginal discharge, which is clear as water but can also be thick in consistency characterized with an offensive smell.

Another sign that is widely prevalent among women refers to abnormal bleeding, which includes unscheduled vaginal discharge outside the monthly menstrual cycle as well as such discharges after having sex or when menopause already. In case of an abnormally long or heavy menstrual flow, unusual bleeding is crucial to visit a physician for quick treatment and diagnosis.

Moreover, with the development of cancer a person may have pelvic ache or even feel discomfort during sex that also requires prompt visit to doctor. Unintended weight loss, weakness or tiredness and pain in the lower back can also be accompanied by symptoms but less characteristic manifestation of cervical cancer that might signal different health conditions.

It is therefore important that one should make a point of having regular medical examinations because some symptoms coincide with other disorders and are supposed to contact the physician in case of developing any irregular signs for relevant screening tests.

Causes of cervical cancer

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection

HPV is a group of 100+ virus strains. Fourteen of these strains are considered high-risk strains that lead to cervical cancer. There are two strains in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, that are associated with cervical cancer and are accountable for around 70% of all cases.


Another parameter which is responsible for increasing the risk factor of cervical cancer among women is smoking. The risk of getting cervical cancer is almost double among women who smoke than those who do not. Compounds in tobacco are able to cause the damage of cells’ DNA, which leads to their malignity including those located in cervical tissue. In addition, smoking attenuates the immune system’s capability to repel HPV infections and inhibit irregularity of cells that can afterward turn into cancerous.

Prolonged Use of Contraceptive Pills

There is an increased risk of cervical cancer among the women using oral contraceptives for a long time (over 5 years). These pills have hormones that may spur the growth of ‘bad’ cells in the cervix. Nonetheless, this risk is reduced upon discontinuation of the contraceptive pills and has been shown to return back to being almost normal after 10 years of stopping.

Having a Weak Immune System

The immune system is an important factor in avoiding cancers such as cervical carcinoma. Females with a weak immunity system, for example those infected by HIV AIDS are more prone to the HPV infections and thus often develop cervical cancer. The immune system’s functionality is reduced, thereby hampering the body in fighting early invasive cancer and managing HPV infections.

In conclusion, HPV serves as the main source for causing cervical cancer. There are other risk factors found in a woman’s body which make her vulnerable to this type of cancer. It is crucial to recognize such risk factors and take adequate safety measures like routine screenings, good lifestyle practices to mitigate the chances of getting cervical cancer. Understanding these risks can help a woman to take control of her life and try as much as they can at the present moment.

Tests women should consider after 30


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