Women who have precancerous cells or early-stage cervical cancer are more likely to survive if they are tested for it early on. Doctors find that women who have precancerous cells removed have a much higher survival rate than those who get treatment only after they have developed advanced cervical cancer. Which has metastasized!
A commonly used test that is very effective at diagnosing cervical cancer, especially in the precancerous state or in the early stages, is the Papanicolaou Test (pap smear.) A woman’s doctor will swab the outside of her cervix for some cells and analyze them in a lab for abnormal tissues or cells. If the doctor finds any abnormal cells which may be precancerous or be an early-stage type of cervical cancer, he or she will order a biopsy. The doctor will thoroughly analyze the tissue (a small section of the cervix, which is snipped out) under a microscope to determine the type, nature, and extent of cervical cancer.
Doctors can use a wide variety of tools to diagnose cervical cancer and understand the nature and type of cancer. They are:
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
Doctors order this test for women who have standard physical exams but whose pap smears have shown precancerous or cancerous cells. It is like the regular pap smear in many ways. Still, instead of using a cotton stick and speculum to examine the cervix, the doctor will use acetic acid or a special dye to identify questionable cells. The doctor will take huge biopsies of these areas. He or she will then insert a colposcope into the cervix, which will magnify the cells anywhere from 8 to 15 times. The doctor can easily see and examine the precancerous or cancerous cells.
Doctors may need to use a larger colposcopy for more advanced cancers or for cancers that have metastasized. Doctors prescribe different treatments for different stages of cervical cancer.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)
The ob-gyn will insert an electrified metal looped wire to burn off a piece of the cervix, which will become the biopsy which he or she will analyze under a microscope. Since it is elementary and only requires at most local anesthesia, it can be done at an outpatient center, including the ob-gyn’s office.
This involves general anesthesia and a complicated surgical procedure, which slices a cone-shaped piece of tissue out of the cervix for further analysis. Doctors can use many tools for this surgery, including the traditional scalpel, LEEP, or a laser beam.
The more the delay happens in the diagnosis of cervical cancer, the deadlier it becomes. The cost of treatment also increases sharply with time. In such cases, people from weak financial background find themselves at a disadvantage. At Ketto, we try to help such people by giving them a platform to raise their voice for help. Every person who is in urgent need of money to meet his needs whether be it treatment for a deadly disease like cancer or any other personal goal or dream, can use Ketto’s platform to start a fundraiser and reach out to those who can help them.
Cervical cancer stages
Cervical cancer progresses in the following stages:
- Stage 0
- Stage 1
- Stage 2
- Stage 3
- Stage 4
The only abnormal cells present are precancerous ones.
Cancer cells are present, and they have taken root in the surrounding cervical tissues. They also may have metastasized into the uterus and lymph nodes.
Cancer has metastasized to other surrounding vital organs. They remain localized and have not entirely spread through the reproductive tract (vagina or pelvic walls.) if the tumors are large enough, they can obstruct the ureter and make urinating painful and difficult.
Cancer has spread to the lower portion of the vaginal and pelvic walls. They may obstruct urinary flow by blocking the urinary tubes which carry urine from the bladder to the urethra.
The cancer is destroying the bladder and rectum and adversely affecting its functioning. It has spread well beyond the pelvis too far away organs like the lung and liver. The lymph nodes are only concerned with some women.
This type of cervical cancer is present in many parts of the cervix and has metastasized to other vital organs. It is advanced cervical cancer – hence the description of invasive cancer.