Sunday, 9 May 2010

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer, a common kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cells are cancerous (malignant) in the tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus, the body pear-shaped hollow where the fetus develops, and connects with the vagina (birth canal).

Cervical cancer usually grows slowly over a period of time. Before they find cancer cells in the cervix and other tissues undergo changes and abnormal cells begin to appear (known as dysplasia). The Pap test is usually these cells. Later, cancer cells start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and surrounding areas.

Since there is generally no symptoms associated with cervical cancer, the doctor must make a series of tests to find cancer. The first is the Pap test, carried out using a piece of cotton, a brush or a small wooden spatula to gently scrape the outside of the cervix to collect cells. The patient may feel some pressure, but usually do not feel pain.

If abnormal cells are found, the doctor will remove a tissue sample (this procedure is known as a biopsy) of the cervix and observe through a microscope to check for cancer cells. To perform a biopsy only need a small amount of tissue and can be done in the doctor's office. Whether to do a biopsy, a doctor needs to remove a larger sample in the form of cone (cone), the patient may have to go to hospital.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment selection depends on the stage of the cancer (whether it is in the cervix or has spread to other places) and general health status in the patient.
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