Know More About Cervical Cancer
Cervix is a part of the human reproductive system that connects the uterus and vagina. The cervical cancer occurs due to the different strains of human papillomavirus. It is a sexually transmitted infection. Generally, the immune cells fight against the infection but in some cases, the infectious cells remain in the body and contribute to the process of cancer formation.
- The primary cause of the cervical cancer is thought to be changes in the healthy cells of the cervix. The DNA inside the cell causes the cell to multiply and accumulate inside the body. The abnormal mass of cells lead to formation of tumors in the body that gets out of control.
- If an individual has more number of sexual partners than usual, the chances of acquiring human pappilomavirus infection are enhanced. Further, getting indulged into sexual activities at an early age is also a risk factor.
- Sexually transmitted infections and a weak immune system increase the chances of HPV. Intake of birth control pills for more than 5 years is another risk factor for cervical cancer.
- Smoking habits may lead to risk of squamous cell cervical cancer and consumption of a drug named diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of clear cell carcinoma.
Types of cervical cancer
Depending on the type of cervical cancer that an individual has, the type and speed of the treatment is determined.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
As the name suggests, the cancer develops in thin and flat squamous cells that line the outer part of the cervix.
The column-shaped glandular cells that are present in the lining of the cervical canal lead to development of adenocarcinoma.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal bleeding post intercourse, post menopause, and between periods
- Watery or bloody discharge. It may have foul smell and heavy flow
- Once the disease starts spreading, the symptoms observed can be swollen legs, bone pain, loss of appetite, trouble peeing, fatigue, and unintended weight loss.
If the doctor suspects cervical cancer, a variety of diagnosis methods can be used to confirm.
In the case of punch biopsy, a sharp tool is generally used to collect the samples of cells or tissues. It is then analysed in the laboratory for the presence of tumor cells if any.
The curet is a small spoon shaped medical instrument used for performing the scraping to get a sample of the tissue. It could be though of as a thin brush that extracts sample from the cervix.
Conization or Cone Biopsy
It is a medical process which involves taking sample of cells from deeper layers of cervix. It can be performed by the doctor under a general anaesthesia.
Electrical Wire Loop
An electrical wire loop uses a low-voltage electrified wire to get a tissue sample. It can be performed by the doctor under a local anesthesia.
To know about which stage the cancer has reached, the doctor may ask for following tests.
The imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, X-ray, and positron emission tomography are some of the determining tests done to confirm the issue.
Various special scopes can be used to look for functionality of the rectum and bladder.
After Effects of Treatments
Though a wide range of allopathic treatments are available for dealing with cancer but there could be some side effects as well.
Going through chemotherapy may lead to issues like fatigue, nausea, vomiting, reduced red blood cell count, vulnerability to infections, easy bruising and bleeding, constipation, appetite changes, and others.
Radiotherapy can lead to creating health issues like memory or concentration problems, skin changes, blurry vision, headache, hair loss, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, gum sores, and many more.
Immunotherapy can often cause fever, chills, headache, dizziness, weakness, muscle aches while targeted drug therapy can cause symptoms like high blood pressure, nail changes, mouth sores, loss of hair colour, dry or rash skin, fatigue, and wound healing.
Surgery performed might cause itching, burning, and pain near the incision site. There could be some discharge or bleeding at the affected site. Hot flashes and night sweats can also be experienced. The side effects may vary from mild to severe depending on the human body.
Often, the surgery is performed to remove the part of cervix that is affected by the cancer cells along with some healthy surrounding cells. This procedure involves cutting away a cone-shaped piece of cervical tissue, but leaving the rest of the cervix intact.
Another surgery is performed to remove the cervix entirely, that is, trachelectomy. The uterus still exists after this procedure to support pregnancy.
Often, hysterectomy can be performed which involves removal of both cervix and the uterus, some part of vagina, and the surrounding lymph nodes.
Radiotherapy uses protons or X-rays to kill the tumor cells. Either the machine is directed toward the tumor (external radiation), or a tiny device is placed at the affected area for a set duration of time where it radiates continuously and aims at the tumor cells.
Chemotherapy is performed with the help of some chemicals that move through the body. These target the tumor cells and destroy them. They can be taken in the form of capsules or injections. A combination of chemotherapy drugs can be used to perform the treatment.
Targeted Drug Therapy and Immunotherapy
Targeted therapy is done to target a specific gene or a protein that promotes the development of cancer cells. It may cut off the blood supply to the tumor cells. Immunotherapy injects certain drugs into your body that boost the body’s immune system and help identify the cancer cells and fight them.
Why to opt for Ayurveda?
The cancers of female reproductive system have increased over the past years. However, Ayurveda has also evolved to a good extent and provides patients with natural treatments that do not pose risk of any side effects to the body.
The medicinal herbs like Withania somnifera or Symplocus Racemosa are known to be effective in dealing with the issues of cervical cancer. Ashwagandha holds anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help the body boost its immunity against infections in many ways. The extract of Lodhra in the form of powders or pills can be taken to help treat the issues of menstruation cycle and the vaginal discharges.
Also, Shatavari has been known to enhance the libido in women and treat female sexual disorders. Guggul is being used as a health tonic for a long time and has rejuvenating properties. Saraka indica is also used in female health products. This medicinal herb is known to provide relief from pain and discomfort from tumors.
Ayurveda provides therapeutic procedures that help to heal the body gradually. The theories of Ayurveda are pseudoscientific and it is the system of medicine that can be administered along with allopathy. It believes in social, mental, and emotional well-being of an individual. Ayurveda includes a blend of good routines, natural or home remedies, a healthy lifestyle, detoxifying therapy, and a proper diet.