Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that affects women. Thankfully cervical cancer screening tests help detect the precancerous cells early enough before they develop into cervical cancer cells. Many experts recommend beginning cancer screening tests at the age of 21 and after every five years. Regular screening reduces and prevents the risks of developing cervical cancer.
We cannot deny that there are many women out there who have never gone for a cervical cancer screening test and don’t know what happens during the appointment. The common forms of Hong kong cervical cancer screening include:
A pap smear- during a pap test, the doctor inserts a speculum in your vagina to reach your cervix, then brushes some cells from your cervix, which are then sent to a pathologist for examination. The best thing about a pap test is that it detects abnormal cells in your cervix, including cervical cancer cells and other abnormal cells that increase the risks of cervical cancer.
HPV test- another way to screen for cervical cancer is through an HPV test. A doctor collects cells from your cervix and tests them for infection with any type of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
What happens after a cervical cancer diagnosis?
If the doctor suspects cervical cancer after a screening test, what follows is a series of other tests and a thorough examination of your cervix. The doctor uses a unique magnifying device known as a colposcope to check for abnormal cells in your cervix. During the process known as biopsy, the doctor takes a sample of your cervical cells and tissues for lab testing. To get the tissues, they can use any of the following methods:
- Punch biopsy- using a sharp tool to collect tiny samples of your cervical tissues.
- Endocervical curettage- using a spoon-shaped tool called a curet to brush off some tissue samples from your cervix.
- Electrical wire loop- using a thin low voltage electrified wire to collect the cervical tissue sample. However, it happens when you are under local anesthesia.
- Conization- this is a special procedure that enables the doctor to collect deeper layers of the cervical tissues and cells for laboratory testing. The process happens when you are under general anesthesia.
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer, the doctor performs further tests to determine the stage or extent of cancer. Determining the cancer stage is necessary to decide on the treatment. staging tests include:
- A visual examination of your bladder and rectum using special scopes.
- Imaging tests include x-ray, MRI, CT, and positron emission tomography. It enables the doctor to identify how far cervical cancer has spread beyond your cervix.
Treatment of cervical cancer
The treatment of cervical cancer largely depends on the stage or how far the cancerous cells have spread. Personal preferences and other health conditions you might have also impact the choice of a treatment method. However, conventional cervical cancer treatment methods include radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. Cancer treatment doesn’t come cheap, but you can apply for a Hong Kong cancer fund to help you seek proper treatment.
Here is a deeper look into the three forms of cervical cancer treatment.
If cervical cancer is in the early stages, surgery is the best way to treat it. The surgery you undergo depends on the stage and size of your cancer. Another consideration that comes into play is whether you would like to get pregnant in the future. Some of the options you have include:
- An operation to cut away cancer cells is a viable option when the cancer is small and leaves the rest of the cervix intact. It also makes it possible to get pregnant in the future.
- Radical trachelectomy procedure involves removing the cervix and some of the surrounding tissue. The uterus remains intact, so it is possible to get pregnant in the future.
- Hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the cervix, uterus, some part of the vagina, and lymph nodes. This procedure can completely cure early-stage cancer, but it makes it impossible to get pregnant.
Radiation involves using high-powered energy beams like protons or X-rays to kill the cancerous cells. It can be used after surgery if the cancer shows some signs of coming back and can also be combined with chemotherapy as the primary treatment for locally advanced cervical cancers.
Radiation therapy can be done both externally or internally. Internal radiation involves placing a device with radioactive material inside your vagina for a few minutes. External radiation involves focusing a radiation beam on the affected part of the body. You should discuss your viable options with your doctor if you intend to get pregnant in the future.
Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cervical cancer cells, and it comes in pill form or can be given through the veins or both. In the event of locally advanced cervical cancer, the doctor can combine chemotherapy with radiation because chemotherapy enhances the effects of radiation. If your cervical cancer is highly developed, higher doses of chemotherapy are necessary.
Coping and support
No one fully prepares for a cancer diagnosis, and in many cases, it comes unexpectedly. However, it is best to prepare for what comes by learning as much as you can about the situation. Even as you go for your first Hong Kong cervical cancer screening, you should start by learning about cervical cancer through online guides to know more about what to expect.
If diagnosed with cervical cancer, stay positive and find someone to talk to. You can talk to family, friends or even join cervical cancer support groups to network with other cancer survivors. Take some time for yourself and let people help you. Dealing with cancer, no matter which type it is can take a toll on your emotional health, so let people help you where they can. Most importantly, eat well, relax and get plenty of rest to combat stress and fatigue.
Now that you have learned something about cervical cancer, you should take the appropriate measures to prevent the risks, including regular cervical cancer screening.