The most common form of cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Infection caused by this virus transforms the cervical cells into cancerous cells.
The early detection of cervical cell changes, by performing cytology at annual gynaecological check-ups, enables rapid and effective treatment before it becomes invasive cervical cancer.
What could be the causes?
There are more than 150 subtypes of the HPV virus, although only some of these cause cervical cancer.
What symptoms are associated with cervical cancer?
The first stages of cervical cancer can be free from symptoms. In more advanced phases, the patient could have abnormal loss of blood from the vagina, vaginal secretion that is more abundant or of different characteristics than usual, pain or loss of blood during sexual intercourse or abdominal pain, among others.
How is it diagnosed?
To diagnose cervical cancer, a biopsy of the cervix is necessary. It is carried out with a colposcope, a kind of microscope that allows the specialist to view certain parts of the cervix through the vagina. Sometimes a simple examination of the cervix and routine cytology will already warn us of what we are up against.
To diagnose the extent of a malignant tumour, other diagnostic imaging tests are required (CT scan, MRI, pyelogram, etc.).
How is it treated?
Treatment against each case of cervical cancer can be personalised. More or less radical surgery, chemotherapy, external radiotherapy and sometimes intravaginal radiotherapy are the arms we have available to face up to the challenge of adequately treating cervical cancer.
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