Physical and Biochemical Changes Caused by Cervical Cancer

Physical and Biochemical Changes Caused by Cervical Cancer thumbnail
Cervical cancer causes a variety of physical and biochemical changes.

Cervical cancer causes different physical and biochemical changes, depending on how advanced it is. Early stages of cervical cancer only affect the cervix, whereas later stages may spread to other organs of the body. Cervical cancer in its early stages may have no symptoms while more progressive cancer may cause menstrual irregularities. Cervical cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.

  1. Physical Changes

    • The physical changes caused by cervical cancer are divided into stages defined by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. In its early stages, the physical tumor is limited to the cervix and is small enough it can only be seen under a microscope. Later, the tumor may grow large enough to be seen by the naked eye, and it may spread to the uterus and the parametria, the tissues next to the cervix. In advanced stages, the cancer may spread to the vagina, the walls of the pelvis, and even the bladder or rectum. Cancer in these later stages may block the ureters, the muscular tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, causing urinary dysfunction.

    Biochemical Changes

    • In later stages of the disease, cervical cancer may spread to the lymph nodes, affecting the body's immune system. It can also spread to other organs, such as the lungs or liver, and affect the functioning of those systems. If the cancer spreads to the bladder, it can affect the body's processing of toxins.

    Causes

    • Cancer cells are cells that multiply out of control, creating a tumor, or a mass of abnormal cells. The cause of this abnormality in the cervix is unknown, but the human Papillomavirus (HPV) certainly plays a part as evidence of HPV is found in nearly every woman with cervical cancer. However, HPV is not the whole story. Genetics and lifestyle can also contribute to the background causes of cervical cancer.

    Signs and Symptoms

    • Early cervical cancer may cause no symptoms, which is one reason it is important to get regular gynecological screenings. More advanced cervical cancer may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, after intercourse or after menopause. Another symptom is watery, bloody and heavy vaginal discharge that has a foul odor. Cervical cancer can also cause pelvic pain or pain during intercourse.

    Treatment

    • Cervical cancer can be treated surgically, with radiation or with chemotherapy. Usually, cancer that is limited to the outside of the cervix involves surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Invasive cervical cancer which has spread farther than the outside of the cervix can be treated surgically by removing the uterus. For women with more advanced cervical cancer, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy is usually the most effective treatment.

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  • Photo Credit reading women image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com

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