Globally, cervical cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Half of cervical cancer cases occur in women aged between 35 and 55. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 80% of cervical cancer, whereas adenocarcinoma makes up for about 15%. Risk factors for cervical cancer include: early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted diseases, cigarette smoking, and a weak immune system. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy form the conventional treatment of this condition.
Cervical cancer is completely treatable and preventable, but only if detected early on in its development. Tests such as pap smears have helped bring down the number of deaths attributed to this sexually transmitted infection; yet the ignorance of early warning signs leads to many deaths- deaths which can be completely avoided with just a little bit of information and vigilance.
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Cervical Cancer Causes and Treatment
Cervical cancer is an infection caused by the human papillomavirus, which comes in many types and few of which cause cancer. The symptoms of this disease are a lot more subtle than some other cancers, but can be clearly spotted nonetheless to save lives. Here are 8 signs of cervical cancer that women need to observe and watch out for.
1. Unusual Bleeding
The most common of all early onset symptoms, unusual bleeding between menstrual cycles or following sexual intercourse can signal trouble. This symptom becomes even more important in post-menopausal women.
2. Unusual Discharge
It is normal for women to have a nominal amount of clear and odorless discharge. But watch out for foul smelling and irregular looking discharge, particularly if it is increased in output as this could be an early sign of cervical cancer.
3. Pain in the Legs and Lower Back
With swelling up of the cervix, blood flow to the legs and lower back can get obstructed. Tis often results in pain and swelling in the legs and lower back with a sore, painful sensation. Swollen ankles and pain in the hips too can be attributed to this factor and must not be ignored.
4. Pelvic Pain
Cramps and pain in the pelvis is not unusual for women, especially at certain points of their menstrual cycle. But if this pain is more acute or frequent, lasts longer than usual, or comes at a strange point in your cycle, then you are better off booking a checkup with your doctor.
5. Uncomfortable Sex
Painful sex, referred to as dyspareunia, is a common side effect of cervical cancer and can be attributed to the swelling and discomfort caused by the infection, as well as other medical conditions associated with it. If you are experiencing uncomfortable or painful sex, waste no time in getting a thorough check up.
6. Discomfort in Urination
Urinary symptoms indicate that the cancer has spread to a nearby tissue and must not be ignored. Stinging sensations or other discomfort when passing urine is a clear sign or trouble, as is irregular urinary habits such as incontinence, change of frequency and discoloration (especially with blood).
7. Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle can directly reflect the rhythms and state of your body, and as such cervical cancer can cause fluctuations and disruptions in it. Any marked inconsistencies can be a sign of cervical cancer and are best not ignored.
8. Undue Loss of Weight and Fatigue
Coupled with the other signs listed above, drastic and unexplained weight loss and fatigue can signal cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can cause a rise in white blood cell count to fight the infection; this can be accompanied by a drop in the red blood cell count in the blood, leading to anemia and resulting in a lack of energy or appetite, weight loss and fatigue.
Cervical Cancer Treatment Therapies
The cervical cancer can be cured by devastating and taking away the precancerous tissue. There many ways of surgeries without removing the uterus or damaging the cervix in order to still have children for the future.
Surgery types of early cervical cancer:
Laser therapy – it is the use of light to burn abnormal tissue.
LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) – it is the use of electricity in order to remove abnormal tissue.
Cryotherapy – it will freeze the abnormal cells.
Surgery types for advanced cervical cancer:
Hysterectomy – the removal of the uterus but will not get the ovaries and may be done by women that who have repeatedly undergo to LEEP procedures.
Radiation therapy – it is to treat cancer that has spread out into the pelvis, or cancer that have returned. It is either external or internal.
Chemotherapy – the use of drugs for exterminating cancer.
Cervical Cancer Ayurvedic Treatment
The Ayurvedic treatment of cervical cancer aims at treating the cancer, treating the symptoms, preventing the spread of the cancer, reducing the side effects of conventional treatment, and prolonging survival. Medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Triphala-Guggulu, Kanchnar-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Mahamanjishthadi-Qadha, Chandraprabha-Vati, Ashokarishta, Ashoka (Saraca indica), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Udumbar (Ficus glomerata), Ulatkambal (Abroma augusta), Shalmali (Bombax malabaricum), Vasa (Adhatoda vasica), and Tandullya (Amaranthus polygamus) are used to treat the local tumor. In addition, medicated douches containing Triphala (Three fruits) and Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra) are used to treat local ulceration.
Medicines which act on the ‘Rasa’, ‘Rakta’ and ‘Mansa’ dhatus (tissues) are useful in this condition. These medicines include Indrayav (Holharrhina antidysentrica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha ( Cissampelos pareira) ,Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Nimba (Azadirachta indica) and Triphala. Medicines like Kanchnar-Guggulu and Mahamanjishthadi-Qadha are used to prevent the spread of the disease to other parts of the body. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Nagbala (Sida humilis), Suvarna-Bhasma and Heerak-Bhasma are used to improve the immunity of the body. To prevent or reduce side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, medicines like Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Kamadudha-Ras, Shankh-Vati, Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras and Vishwa (Zinziber officinale) are used.
Thus, Ayurvedic medicines can be used as additional therapy to conventional treatment, to improve the overall survival of the patient. It is important to note that all such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of an Oncologist.