How Dangerous is Cervical Cancer? Everything You Need to Know


how dangerous is cervical cancer everything you need to know

According to a recent Lancet report on the disease, China is second in Asia regarding the number of cervical cancer cases behind India. According to the study, 23% of the world's cervical cancer deaths—or 40% of all cervical cancer deaths—took place in India and 17% in China. In 2020, there were 3,41,831 fatalities worldwide from cervical cancer and an estimated 6,04,127 new cases. 

According to the National Cancer Registry Programme, the most prevalent cancers in women are cervix and breast cancer. In India, 6-29% of all cancer cases among women were cervical. According to the data, India recorded about 21% of all cervical cases. Here is everything you need to understand about cervical cancer's symptoms, causes, diagnosis, risk factors, and preventive guidelines:

What is Cervical Cancer?

Women frequently develop cervical cancer, but are you aware that it is easy to recognise this disease and seek immediate medical care? It is necessary to stay informed about the research being done to combat this cancer, and don't forget to start treatment as soon as possible. Your cervix's surface is where cervical cancer, also known as cancer of the cervix, first appears. It takes place when precancerous cells start to develop in the cells of your cervix. Preventing cervical cancer requires identifying and controlling these troublesome cells before they can develop. Not all premalignant cells will develop into cancer.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

When healthy cervix-based cells undergo genetic changes called mutations, it brings on the development of cervical cancer. The instructions that inform a cell which tasks to perform are encoded in its DNA.

Healthy cells develop and replicate at a specific rate before dying at a given time. The mutations instruct the cells to grow and replicate erratically while remaining alive. A mass of aberrant cells called tumours develops as they multiply. Cancer cells can infect the tissues in the immediate area and separate from a tumour to spread to other body parts.

Although the exact origin of cervical cancer causes is unknown, HPV is known to play a part. The majority of HPV-positive people do not go on to develop cancer. This indicates that in addition to genetics, your environment and lifestyle choices also have a role in determining whether you'll get cervical cancer.

There are over 100 distinct HPV strains. Specific types only cause cervical cancer. HPV-16 and HPV-18 are the two strains that cause cancer the most frequently.

Cervical cancer is not certain, even if you have an HPV strain known to cause it. Most HPV infections are cleared up by your immune system, frequently within two years.

Some cancers can be brought on by HPV in both men and women. A few of these include:

  • Throat cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Penile cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Anal cancer

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

One may have no symptoms at all in the initial stages of cervical cancer. Women should, therefore, routinely undergo cervical smear screenings, sometimes known as Pap tests.

Pap tests are preventative. Instead of detecting cancer, it seeks to highlight any cell abnormalities that might be precursors to the disease so that treatment can begin as soon as possible.

These are the most typical signs of cervical cancer:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Blood-tinged vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding following a sexual encounter
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual activity
  • Post-menopausal bleeding in women
  • A pungent discharge from the cervix

Infection is just one of the possible reasons for these symptoms. Anyone exhibiting even one of these signs should visit a medical professional.

How is Cervical Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors can detect cervical cancer via a Pap smear test. The doctor takes a sample of your cervix's outer layer to use for cervical cancer diagnosis. Then, a lab will examine these cells to look for precancerous or cancerous alterations.

Your doctor might advise a colposcopy, a technique for looking at your cervix if any abnormalities are detected. Your doctor may take a biopsy, or a sample of cervical cells, during this procedure.

If the biopsy reveals the patient has cancer, more testing will be done to see if the infection has spread (metastasised). These examinations may involve:

  • Examinations of kidney and liver function.
  • Tests on the blood and urine.
  • Abdominal, rectal, colon, and bladder X-rays.

All these procedures are called Staging.

Cervical Cancer Types

Your kind of cervical cancer influences your prognosis and course of therapy. The most prevalent forms of cervical cancer are:

Carcinoma of the squamous cell: This specific form of cervical cancer starts in the flat, squamous cells that line the outer portion of the cervix that extends further into the vagina. Squamous cell carcinoma is a very common type of cervical cancer.

Adenocarcinoma: The column-shaped glandular cell lines surrounding the cervical canal are the starting point for this type of cervical cancer.

Both kinds of cells can occasionally have a role in cervical cancer. Other cervix cells very seldom develop cancer.

Stages of Cervical Cancer

Your doctor will determine the cervical cancer stages after a diagnosis has been made. Depending on the stage, it is possible to determine whether and how far cancer has spread. Your doctor can identify the best course of treatment for you by staging your cancer.

There are four stages of cervical cancer:

  • Stage 1: The cancer is mild. There's a chance that it affected the lymph nodes, but other body parts have not been affected by it.
  • Stage 2: The tumour has grown. It can have reached the lymph nodes or spread beyond the uterus and cervix. It hasn't yet spread to other areas of your body.
  • Stage 3: The malignancy has gone to the pelvic or the lower vagina. It might obstruct the ureters, which are tubes that carry urine to the bladder from the kidneys. It hasn't spread to other areas of your body.
  • Stage 4: Cancer perhaps has spread to other organs, such as your bones, lungs, or liver, from the pelvis.

Cervical Cancer Treatment

The recommended course of action for cervical cancer depends on several variables, including the disease's stage, age, physical well-being, and if you intend to plan a pregnancy in the future. If detected early, cervical cancer can be effectively treated. There are four primary treatments:


The goal of surgery is to eradicate as much cancer as possible. Sometimes, the doctor can only remove the portion of the cervix with cancerous cells. Surgery for more acute conditions may entail eliminating the cervix as well as other pelvic organs.


Drugs are used in chemotherapy to eradicate cancer cells all over the body. Doctors provide this therapy in cycles. Patients undergo chemotherapy for a while. After that, the treatment will end, so the body has time to heal.

Radiation Treatment

X-ray beams with high energy are used in radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be given by a device outside the body. A metal tube inserted in the uterus or vagina can also be used to deliver it from within the body.

Targeted Therapy

A more recent medication called bevacizumab (Avastin) functions differently than chemotherapy and radiation. Inhibiting the development of fresh blood vessels prevents the tumour from spreading and surviving. Chemotherapy and this medication are frequently used simultaneously.

Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer

These are some of the factors associated with cervical cancer:

  • Several Partners: The risk of contracting HPV increases with the number of sexual partners you have and the number of partners your partner has.
  • Other STIs: The risk of HPV is increased if you already have other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, or HIV/AIDS.
  • Early Sex: The risk of HPV increases with early sexual activity.
  • Smoking: The risk of squamous cell cervical cancer increases with smoking.
  • A Compromised Immune System: If you have HPV and your immune system is compromised by another medical issue, you are more vulnerable to cervical cancer.
  • Exposure to a Medication Preventing Miscarriages: You may be at a higher risk of developing clear cell adenocarcinoma, a specific type of cervical cancer, if your mother used diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant.

Preventive Measures for Cervical Cancer

To lessen your chance of developing cervical cancer:

  • Consult your doctor on the HPV vaccine: Vaccinating against HPV may lower your risk of developing cervical cancer and other malignancies linked to HPV. See your doctor to determine if you should receive the HPV vaccine.
  • Get regular Pap testing: Pap tests can identify precancerous cervix abnormalities, allowing their monitoring or treatment to stop cervical cancer. Most medical organisations advise starting regular Pap screenings at the early age of 21 and repeating it frequently.
  • Avoid smoking: Do not start smoking if you already don't. Discuss methods to help you stop smoking with your doctor if you already do.
  • Ensure safe sexual activity: By avoiding STDs, such as reducing your number of partners, you can lower your risk of developing cervical cancer.


A cancer diagnosis is unexpected and distressing. To ensure you comprehend your diagnosis and treatment plan, talk to your medical professional about any questions or concerns. Support from your loved ones during this difficult time may help you deal with it. You can choose a health insurance plan by Care Health Insurance to deal with financial difficulties that may arise and offer free annual health checkups.

Identification and treatment of this illness depend on the early detection of abnormal cells in your cervix. By arranging routine gynaecological tests and engaging in safe sex, you can take precautions to lower your chance of developing cervical cancer. 

>> Also Read: Complementary And Alternative Therapies For Cancer You Can Consider

Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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