Cancer is a serious and life-threatening condition that can affect any part of the body. There are more than 100 different types of cancer, each with its own set of characteristics and behaviours. Cervical cancer specifically affects the cervix and is caused by infection with certain types of HPV. Regular Pap tests and HPV vaccinations can help prevent the development of cervical cancer, and early detection and treatment can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment.
Symptoms of cervical cancer may include abnormal bleeding, discharge, and pain during sex. These symptoms may not appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage, so it is important for women to have regular Pap tests to detect any abnormal cell changes. Treatment options for cervical cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. It is a common type of cancer among women and is usually diagnosed in women over the age of 35. However, it can also occur in younger women, including those who are pregnant or have recently given birth.
Cervical cancer and pregnancy: Debunking the link
Pregnancy does not cause cervical cancer, but it can make the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer more complex. This is because the cervix changes during pregnancy and can make it more difficult to accurately diagnose cervical cancer. In addition, certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can harm a developing foetus and may need to be postponed until after childbirth.
One thing to be aware of is that pregnancy can sometimes mask the symptoms of cervical cancer. This is because the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause abnormal cells to grow more slowly or not at all. As a result, cervical cancer may not be diagnosed until after childbirth. This is why it is important for women to continue to have regular Pap tests during pregnancy, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms.
Pregnancy among patients with prior history of cervical cancer
If a woman has already received treatment for cervical cancer, she may be wondering if it is safe for her to become pregnant in the future. In most cases, it is safe for a woman who has been treated for cervical cancer to become pregnant, as long as the cancer has been completely removed and there is no evidence of it returning. However, women who have had radiation therapy to the pelvis may have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy, such as preterm labour and delivery.
Cervical cancer during pregnancy: A challenge to be met well
It is important for pregnant women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer, which can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge, and pain during sex. If a woman experiences any of these symptoms, she should consult with her healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Pregnant women should also receive regular Pap tests, which can detect the presence of precancerous cells in the cervix. If precancerous cells are found, they can be treated before they turn into cancer. In addition, the HPV vaccine can help prevent certain types of HPV infection, which can reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
If a woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer during pregnancy, her healthcare team will work with her to develop a treatment plan that is safe for both her and the baby. This may involve delivering the baby early, depending on the stage of the cancer and the woman’s overall health.
Cervical cancer after giving birth: What should one do
After giving birth, it is important for women to continue receiving regular cervical cancer screenings and to follow the recommendations of their healthcare provider. This can help ensure that any abnormal cell growth is detected and treated early, which can improve the chances of a successful outcome.
Cervical cancer is a serious health concern for women, including those who are pregnant or have recently given birth. It is important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer and to receive regular screenings to detect any abnormal cell growth in the cervix. If cervical cancer is diagnosed during pregnancy, the healthcare team will work with the woman to develop a safe and effective treatment plan that takes into account the needs of both the woman and the baby. The expert doctors at HCG Cancer Hospital are all skilled to help you tackle cervical cancer and enjoy the taste of motherhood, side by side.
Authored by Dr. Satish, Consultant Medical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre Ranchi