Dr. Gautam Goyal is a lead consultant for the Medical & Hemato-Oncology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali. Dr. Goyal trained in MD (Internal Medicine) from CSMMU (KGMC), Lucknow before initiating his career in Hemato-Oncology. He completed his DM (Medical Oncology) from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and is ECMO (ESMO Certified Medical Oncologist).
Uterus & Cervix Cancer
The uterus * is the hollow, pear-shaped organ in which a baby develops when a woman is pregnant. The cervix * is the lower part of the uterus, which extends into the vagina, the canal that connects to the outside of the body. Uterine and cervical cancers occur when cells in a woman’s uterus or cervix undergo abnormal changes and start dividing without control or order, forming tumors. Both types of cancer *begin in the uterus, but in different parts. Uterine cancer usually begins in the cells of the endometrium , the thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the main part of the uterus. That is why it is sometimes called endometrial cancer. Cervical cancer originates in the thin, flat cells on the surface of the cervix, the lower necklike portion of the uterus. Both kinds of cancer are more common in women aged 50 and older, but they can occur at any age. there are some risk factors that are known to increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. These risk factors include:
- Having many sexual partners or becoming sexually active early is a risk factor.
- Giving birth at a very young age.
- Several pregnancies
- Birth control pills
- Other sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
Survival rates are good if cervical cancer is caught early. The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are:
- bleeding between periods
- bleeding after sexual intercourse
- bleeding in post-menopausal women
- discomfort during sexual intercourse
- smelly vaginal discharge
- vaginal discharge tinged with blood
- pelvic pain
- bleeding between periods and after sex.
These symptoms can have other causes, including infection. Diagnosis of cervical cancer
Colposcopy: A visual examination of the vagina using a speculum and a coloscope, a lighted magnifying instrument.
Examination under anesthesia (EUA): The doctor can examine the vagina and cervix more thoroughly.
Biopsy: A small section of tissue is taken under general anesthesia.
Cone biopsy: Small, cone-shaped section of abnormal tissue is taken from the cervix for examination.
Blood tests: A blood cell count can help identify liver or kidney problems.
CT scan: A barium liquid may be used to show up any abnormalities.
MRI: Special types of MRI may be able to identify cervical cancer in its early stages.
Pelvic ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves create an image of the target area on a monitor.
Diagnosis of uterine cancer
If doctors suspect uterine cancer, based on a woman’s symptoms and a physical examination, a biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. As with cervical cancer, the most common treatments are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery involves removing the uterus and nearby reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes * and ovaries * . Lymph nodes near the tumor also may be removed during surgery to see if they contain cancer.
After the treatment is finished, most women can lead normal lives. If their uterus was removed, however, they can no longer bear children. This often is not an issue for women in their fifties and sixties.
Working out the stage of a cancer is important as it helps decide what kind of treatment can be effective. Staging aims to assess how far the cancer has developed and whether it has reached nearby structures or more distant organs. Radiotherapy is also known as radiation therapy, radiation oncology, and XRT. It involves the use of beams of high-energy X-rays or particles (radiation) to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy for cervical cancer, as with most other cancers, is used to target cancer cells that surgery cannot or did not remove, or to help the symptoms of people with advanced cancer.