Prof Gabriel Igberase of Shepherd hospital and fertility center Edjeba Warri and Benin.
Cancer cells are abnormal cells which multiply faster than normal cells and overwhelm the function of normal cells in body thereby destroying the body and reducing immunity and eventual death. Immunity is ability of body to fight infection
The cervix is the neck of the womb. The lower part of the womb that can be felt sometimes by the woman and seen seaily by the doctor at examination. The beauty of cancer of the cervix is that it is a highly preventable disease because the cervix is easily accessible. Also it goes through a long incubation period from 0 to 20 years average of 10 to 15 years before it becomes cancer
It does not kill women overseas again because of proper screening methods in place. In Nigeria our women do not come for screening and even when you pick up the disease early they will refuse treatment preferring native or alternative treatment
The cause of cancer is not known and the cause of cancer of the cervix is not known too, but there are risk factors associated with cancer of the cervix.
1. Family history of cancer of the cervix e.g. mum, sisters, auntie, cousins etc.
2. Early sexual intercourse debut like beginning sex very early say 15 to 18
3. Having multiple sexual partners
4. If your husband has multiple sexual partners
5. Low socioeconomic status i.e. poverty
6. Those who smoke
7. Those who have HIV/AIDS
8. The commonest known association now is HPV virus association. Cancer of the cervix is now called a sexually transmitted diseases because of its association with human papilloma virus
It can be prevented by delaying sex, reducing number of partners or staying faithful, using the HPV vaccine for your boys and girls between 8 to 25 years before they get exposed to HPV virus and presenting for Pap smear cancer of the cervix screening test.
The Pap smear is a screening test for all women between the ages of 15 to 69 who have ever had sex. A simple test in which a specimen is collected from the nec6of the womb through the vaginal and sent to the lab. Result is ready in 2 weeks. It tells you if it is normal or abnormal cells or in between cells. Normal cells result will be coming for testing every 2 to 3 years: In between cells will have some come of treatment to burn of the cells or cut it off
Abnormal cells will require confirmation by taking a biopsy which is cutting part of suspicious cervix and taking to the lab to confirm cancer of the cervix. This biopsy can be done by colposcopy which is using a magnifying microscope to look at abnormal areas of the cervix and take biopsy and also treat
How do they present?
If there is no cancer or the cells are in between, one would not notice anything. But if outright cancer there will be bleeding during and after sex. Bleeding from the vagina after menopause when menses has originally ceased, Offensive vaginal discharge which may contain blood or pus. Pelvic pain, Weight loss, Kidney failure.
Early stage cancer, stages 1 and 2 better than 3 and 4. 1 and 2 can still be treated with surgery while 3 and 4 can’t be treated with surgery
The treatment modalities are chemotherapy which is cancer medications and radiotherapy using irradiation for all stages. If a woman has completed her family size we can remove the womb a procedure called hysterectomy if abnormal cells are found during screening or early cancer that has not spread but confined to the womb.
The message is that regular screening, early presentation and treatment by a specialist will prevent death. However late presentation can only be managed with radiotherapy and chemotherapy and supportive management as the 5 year survival rate is very poor
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have side effects of anemia, loss of hair, diarrhea, skin changes etc. that can be man. Early screening and HPV vaccine and behavioral modifications ààaaà per sexual life style is key to preventing cancer of cervix
The preventive measures especially the behavioral modification. This is also commonly known as lifestyle Modification which includes nutrition, exercise, rest, sleep, and healthy relationship.
1. Multiple sex partner is a common risk factor so it is natural we keep to one partner and practice safe sex
2. Right Exercise helps to boost immunity and help to regulate the body’s temperature which in turn active immune responses in killing pathogens (viruses, parasites, particles etc. anything that can cause a disease)
3. Eating right helps to balance your body function. Eating right simply means eat for your body’s need at every given point in time.
Lastly sleep, not having at list 7 hours sleep a day weakens the immune system, triggers inflammatory response and toxic buildup.
In summary eat right, exercise correctly, have good sleep, expose yourself to sunlight and your immune system will be ready to fight and keep you away from diseases. Thank you