Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

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Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix and is a very common type amongst the other types of cancers. Although it is common and many women fall prey to it, but it is easily detectable in certain circumstances and may be treated to increase the healthy life span of the woman suffering from this cancer. Cervical cancer diagnosis is based on certain tests after one notices a few symptoms that prompt the suspicion of cervical cancer. It is a cancer of the cervix uteri or cervical, a pelvic area.

A few risk factors associated with this disease involve human papiloimavirus (HPV) infection that occurs during sexual intercourse. Other cervical cancer causes may include genetics, family members may pass on the disease to the next generation. Almost 70% of cervix cancer cases result from HPV infection, but every person with HPV infection may not have cervix cancer.

Diagnosis and Detection of Cervical Cancer:

Although, awareness of cervical cancer programs has put efforts to educate women about the disease and the risk factors and has also educated the people about the simple tests and examinations available to diagnose cervix cancer, many women avoid to get the regular tests done and hence, let the cancer advance to a further stage.

Absence of significant symptoms of the disease makes it more difficult to suspect the disease and initiate the treatment. Following are some of the available and effective diagnostic examinations for the cervix cancer:

  • Pap Smear or Pap Test - This test holds the maximum popularity for its simplicity and instant detection of the disease and the rate of accuracy in reading. This examination is capable of detecting the early cervical abnormality and reduces the mortality in patients. A Pap test is recommended at regular intervals with proper follow ups so that it may reduce the incidence of the disease by more than 80%. The test involves observation of the patient's cervix through a microscope, while using speculum, an instrument to hold the vagina wide open for a clear view. Then, cells from the cervix area are scraped to observe for any abnormalities. Women from 21 to 30 ages should undergo Pap test every year while older women may stop taking the test after 60-70.
  • Human Papilloma Virus DNA Test - This test is meant to detect any HPV virus in the cervix of the patient. However, even if the result is positive for the presence of HPV virus in the cervical region, it does not confirm cervical cancer but further recommends for diagnosing examinations. HPV test may be taken by patients who had a slight abnormal Pap test results. This test is more sensitive comparatively than the Pap test and hence, there are rare chances for a false negative result. Nevertheless, every HPV type is not accounted to cause cervix cancer, hence identifying the responsible types and matching the presence of HPV virus against it, is important.
  • Colposcopy Examination - This is known for the instrument used to examine the disease, the colposcope. This instrument allows the doctor to see the cervix more clearly and closely to detect any abnormalities. This instrument is placed outside the vagina of the patient and then a light is aimed at cervix to magnify it and allow a clear view. Any abnormal cell growth may be taken a note of and then treated or further examined.
  • Cervical Biopsy - This is like any biopsy examination directed towards the cervical region. This may be initiated while performing the colposcopy examination, in case any unwarranted or abnormal cell growth is spotted on the area. The examination involves removal of tiny cervical tissues to perform a microscopic observation and diagnose the disease. There is another type of a biopsy, cone biopsy that is the same as cervical biopsy except that it removes a cone shaped tissue from the cervix of the patient. To do this, patient is administered general anesthesia.
  • Endocervical Curettage - This examination uses the tissues removed from endocervix canal, located between uterus and the cervix. A small brush is used to scrape the tissue from this narrow area to diagnose the disease.

Cervix cancer is common amongst women, worldwide. However, a few cervical cancer diagnosis test help in reducing its instance and prevent it. Women usually do not complain about any early cervical cancer symptoms as most of the times, it may not present any symptom at all. In case, there are early signs of cervix cancer, it may usually include vaginal bleeding, excessive bleeding, abdominal pain, or pain during the sexual intercourse. For an early detection of the disease, every woman, between the ages of 20 - 30 should take a Pap test that can check cervix abnormality at an initial stage. If detected at an early stage, the modern treatments can increase the life expectancy and offer a healthy life with least loss of fertility.

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