Cervical cancer has 4 stages. In stage I cervical cancer, the cancer is less than 4 cms in size, does not involve any lymph nodes and is confined to the cervix. In stage II, the tumor is more than 4 cms in size, does not involve any lymph nodes and has spread to nearby tissues e.g. upper vagina. In stage III, the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and extensively to lower vagina and abdomen. In stage IV, cancer has spread to other organs such as bladder, rectum or distant organs
The screening test for cervical cancer is a pap smear. This test detects the presence of a virus that causes cervical cancer. If required, your doctor may do a pelvic exam and a colposcopy to examine the cervix if the pap smear is abnormal. While the doctor can visualise some abnormalities with the naked eye, usually they will use an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to visualise tumors better. To confirm cancer, they will perform a biopsy test on the tumor
In last stage or stage IV cervical cancer spreads to distant organs beyond the reproductive system. In this stage, cervical cancer may spread to lungs.
Cervical cancer affects the cervix found in the female reproductive organ. It is classified as a gynaecological cancer and one of the most common cancer found in women.
If your cancer is found in early stages (IA), you may be able to continue your pregnancy. However, later stages of cervical cancer can lead to a complix pregnancy. The tests and treatments involved to treat cervial cancer can also affect the fetus. Discuss your options with your doctor if you are diagnosed with cervical cancer when you are pregnant.
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are: bleeding between periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse, bleeding in post-menopausal women, discomfort during sexual intercourse, vaginal discharge with a strong odor, vaginal discharge tinged with blood, pelvic pain. These symptoms may also be caused due to other conditions, so check with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Cervical cancer may sometimes change a woman's urinary habits. If you have a frequent need to urinate over a persistent period of time, you can get checked. However, many other conditions may also cause this symptom, not cervical cancer alone.
Advanced disease may present with pelvic or lower back pain, which may radiate along to the back of the lower legs. Bowel or urinary symptoms, such as pressure-related complaints- like severe constipation, bladder obstruction can lead to kidney failure , blood in the urine, bright red blood per rectum, or vaginal passage of urine or stool, are uncommon and suggest advanced disease. Please consult the oncologist to manage these symptoms