The lower narrow portion of the woman’s uterus is called the cervix. This opening to the passageway is called the cervical canal. During a menstrual period the blood flows from the uterus through the canal and into the vagina. Producing mucus that helps sperm move from the vagina to the uterus, the cervix remains tightly closed. Knowing the exact function and location of the cervix will aid a lot as we discuss cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the formation of abnormal cells on the lining of the cervix. Normally as cells grow they divide, the old cells die, and new cells replace them. When the normal process by which cells divide goes wrong, masses of tissue known as tumors begin to grow. Benign tumors are not life threatening and normally can easily be removed permanently. They usually stay in one location and do not normally spread to other parts of the body. However, some tumors are malignant; these are the ones that are a lot more serious as they have the possibility of spreading and growing at alarming rates if not caught early. They are life threatening and can be removed but sometimes grow again. When these malignant tumors occur, they are known as cancer.
Risk factors that can contribute to the possibility of developing cervical cancer are infections. The main infection that causes cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus. These are common viruses that are extremely contagious. It is estimated that most adults have at one time in their lives been infected with HPV because of coming into sexual contact with another person with the virus.
It can cause changes to the cervix that will eventually turn into cancer, warts, or other uncomfortable and unpleasant problems. A weakened immune system will have the same affect n the cervix or women who have had many partners have a higher level of risk than those who have not. Sometimes normal aging is a factor, usually occurring in women over age 40.
Cancer that spreads from its place of origin to another part of the body the new tumor is identical to the original cell and therefore the cancer is the same no matter what part of the body it has spread to. For example: if a woman has cervical cancer that has spread to her breast we would not call this breast cancer but we would say that the cervical cancer cells are located in her breast. It would be treated as cervical cancer and not breast cancer. If a woman has symptoms arising from cervical cancer then she waited much too long. Regular screenings for cervical cancer is imperative as the cells can be prevented from forming into cervical cancer way before symptoms begin. Today the number of cases in the U.S. has been falling thanks to screening and early detection. Doctors recommend that regular PaP smear test are performed to find cervical cancer or abnormal cells that lead to cancer of the cervix. Early detection is the way to preventing this kind of cancer, it is treatable with a high rate of success, so get tested regularly to prevent this from becoming a big problem. It is hard to prevent diseases without living in fear, but as long as you are observant of signs, you will be able to reduce the risk of mortality.