Cancer of the cervix or cervical cancer is described as the cancer of the entrance to the uterus or womb. Anatomically speaking, the cervix is part of the lower uterus which is often regarded as the “neck of the uterus”. Women who are more than the age of thirty are of high risk to develop cancer of the cervix.
In general, there are two main types of cancer of the cervix. These are ectocervix squamous cell cervical cancer and endocervix adenocarcinoma of the cervix.
The ectocervix is the part of the cervix that projects in the vagina. It is also termed as portio vaginalis. On the outer portion of the ectocervix are flat cells that can become cancerous which could lead to squamous cell cancer of the cervix.
The endocervix is the inside portion of the cervix. The endocervix have glandular cells that produce mucus. When these glandular cells become cancerous, it can lead to adenocarcinoma of the cervix.
The early stages of cervical cancer do not produce any signs and symptoms, thus, it remains undiagnosed in most cases. This is the reason why it is important to have regular check-ups in order to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions. In the later stages, cancer of the cervix can manifest symptoms such as bleeding between periods, pelvic pain, vaginal discharge tinged with blood, discomforts during intercourse, and smelly vaginal discharge.
There are different risk factors which can cause cancer of the cervix. Some of the risk factors include the human papilloma virus, smoking, multiple sex partners, weak immune system, genetic factors, multiple pregnancies, use of contraceptive pills, sexually transmitted diseases, and socio-economic status.
Through pap smear, cervical cancer can be diagnosed. Aside from that, there are also other laboratory tests which can be done to confirm the diagnosis of cervical cancer. Blood tests, biopsy, CT scan, MRI, and pelvic ultrasound are some of the tests that can help in diagnosing cancer of the cervix.