Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma carcinoma: these words are complicated, but their meaning is well known. Both refer to the same disease —cervical cancer — most of them squamous cell carcinomas. According to 7 signs of cervical cancer that women need to observe, the main symptoms of cervical cancer are:
Although these are the main warning signs of cervical cancer, there are symptoms related to blood and secretions that also indicate you are suffering from cervical cancer. Consult your gynecologist if your menstrual period has unusual or distinctive bleeding such as:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding or bleeding outside the menstrual period.
Menstral bleeding lasts longer than normal — usually exceeding 7 days.
Unusual vaginal discharge — dark or bloody discharge.
Bleeding after menopause — especially in the late menopause (after 50 years).
Bleeding after intercourse.
These symptoms (bleeding and pain during sexual intercourse) occur in the late stages of cervical cancer. If diagnosed early, there is a 100% chance of cure, so early detection is vital.
HPV and cervical cancer
Too often people confuse HPV with cervical cancer. The HPV virus (papillomavirus) is sexually transmitted (it's rarely contracted by kissing on the mouth), and although it accounts for 94% of cervical cancer cases, this virus is not the cancer itself. There are over 100 types of papillomavirus. Not all cause cancer.
1. Pap and HPV
This test detects the presence of pre-cancerous lesions before they turn into malignant tumors. To test this, they take a sampling of cervical cells by inserting a tool into the vaginal canal (with the help of a speculum) and scraping the cervix.
It is painless and if there is discomfort, it would come from the speculum. After the examination, the patient should return to the clinic or doctor for the results.
If the result is negative for malignant (cancerous) cells, it is classified as Class I. The pap test should be repeated every year.
If the result shows an inflammatory process, such as discharge, it will be Class II. The doctor will advise treatment for inflammation if necessary, and the examination must also be repeated from year to year. If there are any atypical (cells that are changing), squamous or glandular cells, the doctor will recommend a colposcopy (examination of the cervix with magnifying glass) and, if necessary, a biopsy (removal of tissue sample).
For women past menopause, the endometrium in the tissue that lines the uterus should be inspected as well.
The bivalent and quadrivalent vaccines were developed to combat the most present types of HPV in cervical cancer. Vaccination does not replace the need for an annual pap smear. The vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies for each HPV type. Because it's a relatively new drug, it's still unknown exactly how long it lasts, but it at least lasts five years of immunity.
The virus often is spread by having multiple sexual partners. While condoms are useful in preventing cervical cancer, they do not guarantee 100% effectiveness. Vaccines also don't totally protect against all HPV types. So, according to research the best way to prevent cervical cancer is by having a healthy and safe sexual life. Not having sexual intercourse until marriage and remaining faithful to your spouse is still the best way to avoid all STDs.