Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in the world and is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths. The mortality rate is 10 times higher in developing countries. In the last 20 years, the incidence of this cancer has decreased by one third and deaths by half. Effective screening programs have provided these decreasing rates.
The most important findings of cervical cancer are discharge and post-intercourse hemorrhage. 99% of cervical cancer is caused by HPV (Human papillomavirus) virus infection. There are more than 200 HPV types and HPV types 16 and 18 cause 70% of these cancer.
Other risk factors:
- Sexual intercourse beginning younger than 18 years
- Too many births
- Smoking and alcohol
- Bacteria and virus infection
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Low socioeconomic level lifestyle
- The spouse being uncircumcised
- Weak immune system or using immunosuppressive drugs
- Not doing smear
Cervical cancer is not a cancer that occurs suddenly. It starts with some changes first. These are the precursor lesions of cancer which we call CIN (cervical intra-epithelial cancer). CIN is not a cancer, it is a deviation from the normal tissue of the uterus in the beginning of cancer. The majority of cases with CIN return to normal.
In normal deviations, Colposcopy, in which cervix is enlarged and examined after the application of some liquids, should be carried out. Colposcopy and biopsy sites are determined and biopsy is performed. Cervical cancer is diagnosed by biopsy.
As is the case in all cancers, early diagnosis is important in cervical cancer, and congenital removal of the cervix is sufficient in cases with early diagnosis, and this does not prevent the patient to have baby afterwards.
The most important fact in cervical cancer: A woman who has regular smears never gets cervical cancer.