Cervical cancer is a cancer caused by a virus called HPV. The cervix is the part of the uterus inside the vagina. During an examination, it can be seen and examined through the vagina. If the virus that causes cervical cancer can be prevented, cancer can also be prevented. Therefore, it is considered a preventable cancer. The virus infects the cervix in the 20s and 30s. While some people can clear the virus, people who smoke, have sexual intercourse with too many people and have a suppressed immune system cannot. After the virus infection, cervical cancer precursor lesions, namely CIN lesions, which we have mentioned in our other articles, are formed. CIN lesions that persist for many years begin to become cancerous. Although this period is not clear, it is 10-15 years.
Who can get cervical cancer?
The HPV virus is quite common in the community. 80% of women and 90% of men are infected with the HPV virus until the age of 40. Some types of the HPV virus cause cancer while others do not. Types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 are more likely to cause cancer. Apart from the type of virus, smoking, starting sexual intercourse at an early age, having many partners, having many other partners, using birth control pills, obesity (in adenocarcinomas), having sexually transmitted diseases, and giving birth to many children increase the possibility of cancer.
How to recognize cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a disease with a long cancerization process. During these years, it is possible to treat existing lesions before cancerization occurs by performing smear and HPV tests. When cancerization occurs, the most common finding is bleeding after intercourse. Other symptoms include a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen, leg pain and vaginal bleeding. 60% of patients are in advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. The definitive diagnosis of cancer is made by biopsy, that is, by taking a piece. The result is finalized by pathological examination.
After the diagnosis, it is very important that an experienced physician examines the cervix. Examination of the ligaments on both sides of the uterus is necessary for the decision on surgery. A tumor that has spread to the ligaments is not operated. In addition to the examination, MRI (MRI scan) and PET-CT films are also requested. The lymph nodes on the sides of the uterus and above the large vessels will be evaluated for spread. If there is no spread in the ligaments and lymph nodes, surgery is performed.
What is uterine cancer surgery like?
Valuable studies in recent years have shown that closed treatment of this cancer, i.e. laparoscopy, increases the risk of death and recurrence up to 6 times. Therefore, the treatment of cervical cancer is performed with open surgery. Closed procedure is not performed. Closed procedure can be used to evaluate the lymph nodes. Cervical cancer surgery is very different from routine uterine ovarian removal surgery. The ligaments of the uterus need to be removed extensively. Separation of the urinary tract and bladder inside these ligaments requires experience.
What other methods are used in treatment?
Surgery is preferred if the disease is caught at an early stage. In the late stage, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used simultaneously. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be given to the patient if necessary according to the pathology results.