How Is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?

How Is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. In the US, it’s estimated that up to 13,000 new cases of the cancer are going to be diagnosed in 2018. Besides, averagely 4,170 women will die from the cancer. The number can be scary. Luckily, cervical cancer can be treatable as long as you detect it early. Because of available tests and vaccinations, the cancer can be preventable. Thus, it’s important for women get tested and detect precancerous cells early.

What causes cervical cancer?

High risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of the cancer. HPVs are a large group of viruses. There’re more than 100 types of HPV and most of them are harmless. However, some strains of HPV are really dangerous such as HPV 16, 18, 45. Most cervical cancers are caused by them. They’re also called high risk HPV because they may lead to cancers in both men and women.

Infections with HPV are very usual. Occasionally, you’re infected with HPV through sexual acts. In most people, their antibodies can help fight against the virus. But, the infection sometimes doesn’t go away and becomes long – lasting infections, causing the cancer. Not only does HPV cause cancers, but some HPV types also induce genital warts. HPV type 6 and 11 are responsible for warts in the genitals. There’s no cure for the infection. But VidaroX can help relieve the symptoms as well as prevent further outbreaks. Most HPV infections are invisible, you may not know you’ve had the virus until getting tested.

Related: What Will Happen if HPV Goes Untreated

HPV 16 and 18 are the main causes of cervical cancers

In addition, you should consider the following risk factors for cervical cancer:

  • Lots of sexual partners
  • Unprotected sex
  • Long period mental stress
  • Giving birth before the age of 17 years
  • Having at least three pregnancies
  • Long –term birth control pills
  • Other STDs
  • Smoking

What should you prepare for a cervical cancer test?

Women from the age of 21 should start with a Pap smear test as it can help detect precancerous cell early. Before practicing the test, there’re several steps you should take to make sure for the best results:

  • Make a day test when you aren’t on themenstrual period. If the period starts unexpectedly, you should reschedule the test
  • Don’t douche before 48 hours of the test
  • Don’t use tampon, vaginal creams and medications inserted into the vagina before 48 hours of the test
  • Avoid intercourse before 48 hours of the test

Related: HPV Is Linked to Cancers

A Pap smear test help detect precancerous cell early

How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

Most women don’t have any symptoms in the early stages. Until the cancer spreads to other organs, you may notice some symptoms, such as:

  • Abnormal bleeding (after intercourse, between periods, after menopause)
  • Pain during sex
  • Abnormal discharge that could contain blood
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bowel movement changes

Because the cancer doesn’t show up symptoms, you should get cervical cancer tested. The following tests may help you detect precancerous cells early.

Screening for cervical cancer

For a couple of decades, the Pap smear test has been used as a screening test for cervical cancer. Most women at the age of 21 should start with the test and should be co- tested with a HPV test and a Pap test at age 30. When there’s no abnormal, Pap tests can be practiced every 3 years. And, co- testing with HPV test and Pap smear every 5 years.

The Pap test will detect abnormal cells of the cervix that are able to turn into cancer. When you have the Pap test, you’ll lie on an exam table. Your gynecologist will use a speculum to keep the vagina open and let her see the cervix. Next, she uses a small brush to collect some cells from the cervix. The cells will be sent to a lab and analyzed under a microscope.

However, the Pap test is only a screening test. It certainly can’t tell if you have cervical cancer. When you have an abnormal Pap test and other symptoms of the cancer. Your doctor want to know more about your medical history as well as your family. Next, she’ll give more tests to detect if you have cancer cells in the cervix.

Related: HPV- How You Can Prevent Cervical Cancer

Screening for cervical cancer will detect abnormal cells of the cervix that are able to turn into cancer

Some tests if you have abnormal Pap test

Colposcopy

This’s a test of the vagina and the cervix by using a colposcopy. It’s an instrument that looks like a microscope and used to get a close look at the cervix. During this test, you’ll lie on an exam table. Your doctor will also use a speculum to keep the vagina open. Then, she applies a solution of acetic acid that helps her see abnormal cells.

Cervical biopsies

In a biopsy, your doctor will remove a small amount of tissues during your colposcopy under a microscope to check for the cancer. This’s also known as a colposcopic biopsy. In addition, there’re some other types of biopsies, such as:

  • Endocervical curettage. This process uses a spoon- shaped instrument called a curette to scrape cells. It can be done at your doctor’s office without anesthesia. However, you may bleed or cramp after the procedure
  • Punch biopsy. Your gynecologist will use a tool known as a biopsy forceps to remove tissue. Next, the tissue is also checked for the cancer.
  • LEEP procedure. This uses a piece of heated wire to remove precancerous cells and tissues from the cervix. Cramp maybe occur during and after the procedure. You may also have heavy vaginal discharge within 3 weeks.

Related: What You Should Do During Cervical Cancer Treatment

Doctors will remove a small amount of tissues during the colposcopy under a microscope to check for the cancer. This is cervical biopsy

Cone biopsy

Cone biopsy is more invasive test that your doctor will take a tissue sample. She’ll remove a cone- shaped sample of tissue from the cervix to see whether it has abnormal cells. She also removes the tissue with a LEEP, laser or scalped. You may have vaginal bleeding for a week after the procedures.

Women of all ages can be at risk of cervical cancer. Fortunately, the cancer can be treatable at the early stages. Thus, women should get tested and vaccinated to prevent the cancer. HPV vaccines are available for female between the ages of 9 and 26. Besides, these vaccines can help prevent genital warts.

Related: Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Cervical Cancer

 

 

 

 

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