ESSAY: CERVICAL CANCER
Cervical cancer is a disease in which the cells of the cervix become abnormal and start to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors. The cervix is the lower part or neck of the uterus. It connects the body of the uterus to the vagina. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. This type of cancer originates in the thin, flat, squamous cells on the surface of the ectocervix, the part of the cervix that is next to the vagina. The other kind is of the adenocarcinoma type. This cancer originates in the mucus-producing cells of the inner or endocervix, near the body of the uterus. Occasionally, the cancer may have characteristics of both types and is called adenosquamous carcinoma or mixed carcinoma. Older women are at the highest risk for cervical cancer. Although girls under the age of 15 rarely develop this cancer, the risk factor begins to increase in the late teens.
Infection with the common human papilloma virus (HPV) is a cause of almost all cervical cancers. There are more than 80 types of HPV. These types can be transmitted sexually, including those that cause genital warts. Most women do not have symptoms of cervical cancer until it has become persistent. At that point, the symptoms may include: unusual vaginal discharge, light vaginal bleeding or spots of blood outside of normal menstruation, pain or vaginal bleeding with sexual intercourse, post-menopausal vaginal bleeding. Once the cancer has invaded the tissue surrounding the cervix, a woman may experience pain in the pelvic region and heavy bleeding from the vagina.
The most common detection method of cervical cancer is having a Pap smear done. However the Pap test is more of a screening method rather that a diagnostic tool. It is very efficient at detecting cervical abnormalities. A number of factors other than cervical cancer can cause abnormalities, including inflammation from bacteria or yeast infections. Another test use in diagnosis of cervical cancer is a...
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