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Cervical cancer – causes, side effects and treatments at

Saturday, February 10, 2018 by

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix, or the entrance to the womb found in the lower part of the uterus. At least all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very common virus that can be passed on through sexual contact with a man or a woman.

A woman diagnosed with cervical cancer may not display any symptoms, especially during the early stages. However, symptoms may include vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse, between menstrual cycles, or after menopause. Do take note that abnormal bleeding isn’t a sure sign of cervical cancer, but you should consult a healthcare professional right away.

Known side effects of cervical cancer

The side effects of cervical cancer include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Longer or heavier menstrual periods than usual
  • Other abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Vaginal bleeding after sex

Take note that these symptoms are not specific for cervical cancer and some of them can be caused by other conditions.

Some risk factors for cervical cancer can include:

  • Family history of cervical cancer
  • Giving birth before 17
  • Having three or more full-term pregnancies
  • HIV infection
  • Immune system suppression
  • *Long-term use of oral contraceptives (*the risk returns to normal once the contraceptive pills are discontinued)
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Past or current Chlamydia infection
  • Poverty
  • Smoking tobacco

Body systems harmed by cervical cancer

Cervical cancer may spread to surrounding structures and organs. Noninvasive cancer may turn into a “locally invasive carcinoma in situ,” which refers to a mass of cancer cells that have “gained access to the rest of the body.”

Cancerous cells can spread through the vessels of the lymph system. These will first move to lymph nodes in the pelvis or near the aorta, the largest artery in the body. These pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes (regional lymph nodes) are nodes closest to the cancer site.

From the regional lymph nodes, cancer can travel to distant sites. It can invade the bones, liver, lungs, and the brain.

Invasive cancer complications may include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Back pain
  • Bone pain or fractures
  • Leakage of urine or feces from the vagina
  • Leg pain

Metastatic cancer has a lower survival rate than noninvasive or locally invasive cancer.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent cervical cancer

These foods contain nutrients that may help prevent cervical cancer:

  1. Asparagus – Asparagus is rich in glutathione, a “master antioxidant.” Glutathione can protect cells against free radical damage, detoxify foreign substances like carcinogens, and boost the immune system by influencing lymphocytes.
  2. Broccoli – Broccoli contains some compounds that can help “eliminate carcinogenic toxins, prevent DNA mutation, induce apoptosis in cancer cells, prevent the development of benign tumors into malignant tumors, and help prevent the spread of cancer from one organ to another.”
  3. Carrots – Carrots have antioxidant properties, and it contains falcarinol, a natural compound that is highly effective at halting the development of cancer.
  4. Fish roe – Fish eggs are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
  5. Green tea – Green tea contains catechins, which are extremely effective at protecting cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals.

Treatments, management plans for cervical cancer

Cervical cancer treatment and management plan options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combinations of the three.

Treatment for early-stage cervical cancer, especially when it is confined to the cervix, has a high success rate. However, the further the cancer has spread out from the cancer site, the lower the success rate is.

  • Surgery – Often used when the cancer is confined to the cervix.
  • Radiotherapy – May be used post-surgery if a healthcare professional thinks that there are still cancer cells inside the body. Radiotherapy can also be used to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). At least 40 percent of all cancer patients receive some form of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, radiation oncology, and XRT, involves the use of beams of high-energy X-rays or particles/radiation to eradicate cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy – This form of treatment involves the use of chemicals/medication to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy targets cancer cells that surgery can’t or did not remove, or to ease the symptoms of people with advanced cancer.

Where to learn more


Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix, or the entrance to the womb found in the lower part of the uterus. At least all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The side effects of cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding or spotting between periods, longer or heavier menstrual periods than usual.

Cervical cancer may spread to surrounding organs.

Cervical cancer can be treated and managed by surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or combinations of the three.

Sources include


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