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Gynecology

Cervical Cancers

Acording to the studies conducted in different countries, it is the second most common type of cancer in women after breast cancer that causes the death of a woman every 2 minutes in the world. Early diagnosis for cervical cancer is usually possible with regular PAP tests. Paying attention to the symptoms for cervical cancer reduces delayed diagnosis and risks. Early diagnosis has a much higher chance of success. In societies where regular PAP tests are not available, the risk of cervical cancer leading to death increases in women. Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women, even in developed countries. When cervical cancer is diagnosed, the cancer is often in advanced stages.
For early diagnosis of cervical cancer, it is essential that women undergo regular screening. Every adult woman, who has had sexual intercourse should be subjected to the PAP test. The PAP test should be done annually and liquid-based tests should be done every two years.
Women who do not have problems with the last 3 consecutive PAP tests after the age of 30 should continue to have a normal PAP test or a liquid-based PAP test every 2-3 years. The PAP test should be performed regularly every year in people whose immune system is not strong due to factors such as HIV infection, organ transplantation, chemotherapy and chronic steroid use. For every woman over the age of 30, HPV and DNA testing should be accompanied by these two tests. There are more than 100 types of HPV virus that cause cervical cancer. Today, protective vaccines have only been found against 2 types of cervical cancer. These vaccines can protect against HPV 16 and HPV 18 viruses that cause cervical cancer. Vaccines only protect against two types of HPV. However, these two viruses play a role in 70 percent of the development of cervical cancer. Although there is no precise information about the vaccine, it continues to be investigated.
If a complete removal operation of the uterus with the cervix, called total hysterectomy, has been done due to an external reason other than the cervical cancer or precancerous diseases of the cervix, the PAP test is no longer required. If the uterus is removed, but the cervix is stil intact, the PAP test should continue to be performed.

To increase the accuracy of the PAP test:

  • Do not coincide the appointments with the doctor with the menstrual period,
  • Do not take a vaginal bath before the PAP test,
  • Do not hava sexual intercourse,
  • Do not use tampons,
  • There should be no intake of vaginal foam, gel, cream or any vaginal medication

At what ages does cervical cancer occur?
Cervical cancer is a disease that is mostly seen between the ages of 40-50. However, it can also occur at an earlier or later age. The increase in the frequency of sexually transmitted HPV virus increases the possibility of cervical cancer occurring at an earlier age in women.

What are the early symptoms of cervical cancer?
In the very early stages of the disease, there are usually no symptoms. We now have the chance to diagnose cervical cancer even at very early stages, through the cervical smear test and examination of the cervix with a lighted instrument called colposcope. It is a little more advanced, but according to the progress of the disease, staining or bleeding after sexual intercourse, formation of malodorous broth-colored discharge are symptoms of cervical cancer. However, women should have a smear test once a year for the early diagnosis of cervical cancer. The smear test has made cervical cancer the first in the ranking of the most common genital cancer, while it is the third most common disease with the option of recognizing pre-cancerous cells or making early diagnosis of cancer.
Common symptoms such as vaginal bleeding in the form of abnormal spotting, bleeding after sexual intercourse, malodorous discharge, broth-like discharge, genital itching and burning can be seen in the early stages of cervical cancer.

Women who are at the risk groups for cervical cancer:

  • Women who started having sexual intercourse at an early age
  • Women who do not pay attention to their genital hygiene
  • Polygamous relationships
  • Women whose partners are polygamous
  • Women suffering from sexually transmitted diseases
  • Women who smoke

Cells that show changes in the cervix before being diagnosed turn into cancer after a period of 5-10 years. This can give you an idea of why a smear test is needed. Thanks to the smear test, deaths caused by cervical cancer have decreased by up to 40%.
50% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer are people who have never had a smear test in their life. It is strongly recommended by the medical authorities to have the smear test once a year. If the smear tests performed for three years in a row are clean, it shows the risk of having it is low. Therefore, these tests can be applied less frequently.

  • Op.Dr. Zeynep Taşargöl
    Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist

    You can send me your questions and comments about Cervical Cancers via this field. The answers provided are advisory. You need to be examined by your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.