Since January is the month of cervical cancer awareness, our hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Op. Dr. Nida Cannazik gave important information on the subject.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer usually occurs with irregular bleeding. There may be intermittent bleeding outside the menstrual period and bleeding during sexual intercourse. Usually, the bleeding begins in small amounts, similar to broth. Conditions such as pain during sexual intercourse, back pain, leg pain, fatigue, weight loss can also be seen. When the patient goes to the doctor with a complaint, the disease is usually at an advanced stage.
Is early diagnosis possible? If possible, what methods are used for early diagnosis?
With screening tests performed in routine examinations without symptoms, the early period usually emerges and the treatment results are promising. Pap Smear and HPV tests are used as screening tests for cervical cancer. Both tests are easily performed during vaginal examination under polyclinic conditions.
What is the diagnosis and treatment process of the cancer?
For people who are diagnosed with the disease through screening tests, the size of the disease is evaluated with additional examinations; and treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery in an advanced oncology center are planned. Since the treatment results are much more positive especially in the case of early-stage disease, periodic screening tests are very important.
To whom are the screening tests done?
All women between the ages of 21 and 65 can have cervical cancer screening tests. Under the age of 30, Pap Smear test is suitable every 3 years. HPV test should not be recommended routinely for women under 30 years of age, as the lesions associated with HPV spontaneously show a high rate of improvement. Between the ages of 30-65, PAP Smear test should be done once in 5 years, preferably with HPV, and Pap Smear alone should be done once in 3 years if HPV is not performed. Screening is terminated at the age of 65. Screening is not performed in patients whose uterus has been removed completely for benign diseases such as myoma and cyst.
What are the factors that increase cancer risk?
The biggest risk for cervical cancer is HPV. HPV is only sexually transmitted and is responsible for more than 90% of cervical cancers. Sexual intercourse at an early age, having a large number of partners are the situations that increase the risk most. The risk is high in smokers, as for many cancers.
Can a mother with cervical cancer breastfeed or give birth?
It is recommended that all women planning pregnancy should have a routine pre-pregnancy examination and screening test during the examination. There is no harm in having a Smear or HPV test during pregnancy. If cervical cancer is diagnosed during pregnancy or process, treatments are planned according to the stage of the disease, and birth and breastfeeding recommendations are made according to the planned intervention to the patient.
Is there a possibility of relapse after the disease has been treated?
Even if people diagnosed with cervical cancer have undergone surgery or other treatments and have no more complaints, they should not disrupt their controls at regular intervals according to the oncology specialist’s recommendation, because the cancer may recur and treatment may be required again.