What are the Symptoms & Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer?
Pre-cancerous stages though asymptomatic, may be detected through routine screening, while the advanced stages of the disease generates a volley of signs and symptoms
The early stages of cervical cancer are asymptomatic. A routine Pap-smear helps to detect pre-cancerous or cancerous changes in the lining cells of the uterus. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding-it can be during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
- Foul-smelling, yellow vaginal discharge
- Low back pain
- Pain during urination (dysuria)
- Pain during sex (dyspareunia)
- Bleeding after douching
The symptoms of spread of the cancer or metastasis include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Abnormal opening in the cervix
- Ureteral obstruction
What is Cervical Cancer Screening?
Screening for cervical cancer helps in prevention and early detection of the disease when it can be treated easily.
An HPV test is a laboratory test that is used to check DNA or RNA for certain types of HPV infection. Cells are collected from the cervix and DNA or RNA from the cells is checked to find out if there is an infection caused by a type of human papillomavirus that is linked to cervical cancer.
A Pap test is a procedure to collect cells from the surface of the cervix and vagina. A piece of cotton, a brush, or a small wooden stick is used to gently scrape cells from the cervix and vagina. The cells are viewed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal. This procedure is also called a Pap smear.
What are the Diagnostic Tests for Cervical Cancer?
These tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the extent of spread of disease, when a Pap smear is positive for cancer. According to the stage of the disease, the treatment will be planned.
In this procedure, also known as conization, the doctor removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. A cone biopsy is not only used to diagnose pre-cancers and cancers but it can also be used as a treatment modality since it can sometimes completely remove pre-cancers and some very early cancers.
Computed tomography (CT): CT scans are usually done if the tumor is larger or if there is concern about cancer spread
Colposcopy: A colposcopy is an examination of the vagina and cervix using a lighted magnifying instrument called a colposcope. A sample of the cervical tissue can be curetted for histological examination referred to as endocervical curettage.
Positive emission tomography (PET) scan – a specialised scan, where a mildly radioactive substance is injected into your veins so the cancerous tissue shows up more clearly;
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – this type of scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the inside of your body; it can also be used to check whether cancer has spread
X-ray - An x-ray is a way to create a picture of the structures inside of the body using a small amount of radiation. An intravenous urography is a type of x-ray that is used to view the kidneys and bladder.
- Cervical Cancer - (https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical)