Cervical cancer is a common malignant tumour that accounts for 15% of all the oncological diseases in women. Most of the illness cases happen in the developing countries. Meanwhile, cervical cancer is rarely experienced in the developed countries.
This disease mainly affects middle aged women and about 20% of the primary tumour diagnosis is carried out in the elderly patients. Illness is relatively rare in younger women.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a main cause of the cervical cancer. This venereal infection can be transmitted even if a woman uses barrier contraception. Cancer is caused by oncogenic serotypes of HPV (16, 18, more rarely - 31 and 33). There are also virus types of medium or low oncogenic risk and they are less likely to trigger a risk of malignant growth.
Key risk factors of the cervical cancer are:
Having more than 10 intercourse partners during one’s lifetime increases the risk of the cervical cancer by 3 times. This risk can grow up to 5 times if a woman has a regular intimate relationship with a male who had 20 and more sexual partners previously. The more partners a male had the higher the risk of contracting HPV.
Cervical cancer remains asymptomatic for a long period of time. If a patient has some complaints it’s an evidence of the oncologic process at the advanced stage.
First symptoms of the cervical cancer are:
Late signs appear after the tumour sends metastases and grows in size. Moreover, general clinical signs appear except for the local:
All the symptoms are associated to the damage of the genital tract and nearby organs. There are no specific clinical signs of cervical cancer.
Cervix is available for both invasive and non-invasive diagnostic procedures. However, you need to have a doctor’s exam before any symptoms appear to detect cancer early. Women who have a background or precancerous diseases, being in the risk group must be examined regularly.
Underlying conditions that increase the risk of cervical cancer are divided into the following groups:
Dysplasia, erythroplasty, as well as any background conditions, accompanied by the appearance of atypical cells is considered to be precancerous conditions.
Mortality of cervical cancer has been significantly reduced in some developed countries like the USA, Japan, Sweden, and Germany. Women have regular check-ups there. Thus, an illness is detected at an earlier, non-invasive stage when treatment is most effective. (70-80% of cases).
Diagnostics techniques are:
Additional diagnostics techniques can be used to differentiate a stage of the pathological process like: computed tomography, MRI, lungs X-tray, cystoscopy, irrigoscopy and others.
Cervical cancer is mainly treated with the help of surgery. Various operations are conducted, depending on the stage of the illness, age of a patient and her wish to preserve the reproductive function.
Prognosis for cervical cancer
Prognosis depends on the stage of pathological process when cervical cancer was detected, age of a patient, quality of the treatment provided. Average 5-year survival after the diagnosis and relying of the stage of illness is:
Stage IV of cervical cancer is peculiar with the least favourable prognosis. Average life-expectancy of such patients is only 7 months. Stage I has the best prognosis when it’s still possible to completely cure and preserve the reproductive function.
Target therapy is a method of cervical cancer treatment and some other types of cancer based on the use of specific drugs that block rapid growth, development and spreading of the abnormal cells by impacting the molecules inside them. As a result, they lose the ability to differentiate and gradually die which leads to the regression of the malformation.
This method has a high selectivity for cancer cells, which avoids a number of negative side effects and complications that often occur with the use of traditional chemotherapy. The main mechanism of the drug is still blocking of neoangiogenesis (the formation of vessels feeding the malformation). The result of such an impact is the lack of oxygen in the tumour leading to its eventual death.
Neutron capture therapy is the treatment technique of cervical cancer, based on local exposure to a neutron beam, which destroys cancer cells. A patient is introduced a specific non-radioactive drug into the body before, which is absorbed by atypical cells. The activity of the medication increases at times after a week of irradiation to the affected area with a neutron beam.
This leads to a powerful anti-tumour effect with the destruction of the malformation from the inside. The dose of irradiation remains much lower than those of conventional radiological therapy. This helps to reduce the negative effects of treatment, and high selectivity of the technique ensures the safety of surrounding tissues.
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