Vast majority of cases of cervical cancer are conditioned by Human papillomavirus. In it turn, it is caused by sexual contact without protection and having several sexual partners. Smoking and prolonged use of birth-control pills are among other factors that promote cancer development. Three or more full pregnancies increase the risk of disease several times.
Cervical cancer is a malaise that is very hard to distinguish on early stages and diagnose without doctor’s help. But there are some telltale signs of disease that you can define. Read and memorize, because awareness may save your health and even life. Here are opinions of German doctors about the signs of the disease.
Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Are There Any Early Symptoms?
As a rule pre-cancer and its initial stages show no visible symptoms: a woman does not feel any discomfort or pain, there are no complaints about overall health. Self-examination is impossible, and tumor can only be seen by a gynecologist with the help of special equipment, but such checks are not done without reason. The only thing that may be a possible telltale sign is HPV (90% of cases appear due to this virus).
Most Common Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
These usually appear in case of advanced or true invasive cancer inside other tissues. When this stage of disease develops, the following might be experienced by a person:
- vaginal bleeding when it should not be, for instance, after sex, or after menopause, between periods. Sometimes a woman may have heavier bleeding in the course of menstrual periods. If bleeding occurs after having shower or going through pelvic exam, it can also be a warning sign.
- unusual bad-smelling discharge from vagina with some blood between periods or after menopause.
- pain in pelvis or lower belly.
- painful sensations during sex.
Advanced Cervical Cancer Symptoms
If the condition has worsened, and metastases spread outside pelvis or affected lymph nodes, it may lead to other noticeable changes:
- pain in back;
- constant fatigue;
- swelling or leg pain;
- blood in urine;
- loss of appetite;
- urinary inconsistence;
- changes of bladder and bowel functioning;
- leaking of feces or urine from vagina;
- bone fracture.
How to Define Symptoms?
Cervical cancer is among the most widespread women’s diseases in the world. But in developed countries, where screening and examination is a part of routine visit to doctor, the chances of disease and death rate are far less. Modern methods allow defining the disease on early stages. There are several ways of testing.
Pap smear screening allows identifying abnormal cells prior to cancer development. This way, they can be monitored and treated as early as possible. Women are advised to go through Pap smear testing regularly after 21. Although this method is essential for cancer detection, it does not help to detect some of cases.
Biopsy is removal of a small tissue fragment to be examined in laboratory. A doctor can detect cancer cells via telescope, which makes this method highly reliable and precise.
HPV test screening is assigned for women with HPV strains posing the risk of cancer. It is appropriate for women after 30. Although these types of screening are not 100% accurate, they help to detect most instances of early cancer, which allows making it simple for treating. Screening method is defined by a doctor basing on patient’s age, symptoms, and general health.
How To Decrease Cervical Cancer Symptoms?
Disease outcomes will not diseappear without treatment. Usually, a woman feels relief after basic treatment procedures, such as:
- Hysterectomy and cutting out of lymph nodes (ovarian tubes and fallopian tubes stay on their place).
Depending on disease stage, one or a combination of treatments can be assigned. While cancer is being cured, symptoms may gradually disappear.
How can cervical cancer and its symptoms be avoided?
Since HPS is the main root of cervical cancer, the best method to prevent infection is not to have sex, especially occasional intercourses with several partners. Otherwise, safer sex should be practiced – use condoms and, if possible, both partners should pass HPV test.
Lifestyle is another aspect that influences cancer: lack of sleep, stress and anxiety may trigger disease outbreak, if a person is prone to it. Constant exposure to toxins in foods, air and environment contributes to cancer tumor formation. Smoking is the most dangerous habit for people who are genetically presupposed to cancer. Intake of birth-control pills for several years also increases the risk of cancer several times. All above mentioned should be avoided. Besides, multiple complete pregnancies (more than 3) also increase the chances of cervical cancer, although there is nothing to do, if a woman wants to have several children.
Cervical cancer is quire hard to distinguish on early stages, but medical tests and screenings may help a lot. Do not hesitate to visit a doctor and check your body regularly, because it allows revealing cancer until it is too late. The sooner you notice symptoms of disease, the easier it will be to fight with.
Early Signs of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer still stays one of the most complicated health issues among women throughout the world. Cervical cancer is very difficult to identify at early stages, but your awareness can stand you in good stead. Learn what early symptoms of cervical cancer are, and how they can be suppressed. Here are pieces of advice from German doctors.
Is It Simple to Define Early Cancer Stages?
In fact, pre-cancer and early cancer stages are hard to identify, because tumor is too small and does not cause any discomfort, pain or symptoms. It can be revealed by screening only – self-test is simply impossible. For this reason, regular screening should be done by women after 21. Well-timed disease identification allows curing it quickly and effectively, and minimizing complications.
Early Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer
As soon as cancer tumor grows bigger and affects different body parts, symptoms tend to appear. These include:
- Vaginal discharge of transparent or bloody color. It may have unpleasant smell.
- Pain in cervix and abdomen.
- Blood from vagina between periods, or after sex. It can show up as blood-streaked discharge from vagina, sometimes dismissed as spotting. If bleeding is experienced after menopause, it is definitely not normal.
- Pain and discomfort when having sex.
- Vaginal bleeding after douching and cervix examination.
A female can face one or several of these symptoms. Even if one of them reveals, this is a reason to go through screening, because it may be cancer of 2 and 3 stage, which means it should be treated immediately.
You have been diagnosed with HPV? Note that although the disease itself is not considered to be a symptom, it is the root of problem in 70% of cases. So if you are infected, examination should be performed as a preventative measure.
Early Detection of Cervical Cancer
As it has been mentioned, well-timed detection of disease is performed with the help of screening only. Today, Pap smear is basic screening method that allows identifying pre-cancer and cancer cells presence. The procedure is not complicated:
- A woman sits in a gynecological examination chair, and a doctor fixes a speculum in vagina to ease access to cervix.
- Using a soft cotton brush, a doctor takes samples of vagina and cervix cells and mucus.
- The material is put on a slide or into a bottle with fluid to be tested in laboratory.
Laboratory workers examine the sample and search for abnormal cells. If there are any, it is a reason to perform additional examinations, for instance, biopsy and loop electro-surgical excision procedure. In this case, bigger pieces of tissue are taken and are also examined in laboratory. They allow stating a 100% precise diagnosis. Note that Pap test may not be enough to approve cancer presence: some cell alterations and mutations are conditioned by other causes and diseases. Besides, this method is not absolutely reliable because some parts of tissues may stay unchecked. Combination of these screening methods is most reliable.
Pap smear screening should be done by women who had more than three full-time pregnancies, took oral contraceptives during several years, and smoke. These factors also trigger cervical cancer quite often. If you have unprotected sex, and several sexual partners, a high risk of HPV appears. Consequently, cervical screening in this case should also be performed regularly (once in a year or 6 months).
Can the Symptoms Be Suppressed?
In fact, the symptoms may go away without any treatment, but this effect is more likely to be temporary. They can return and become worse, if the main reason – cancer – is not treated. How to get rid of them? The answer is simple: early signs and symptoms of cervical cancer are eliminated when treatment is rendered. As soon as you start going through chemo, radiation or operation, concentration of malignant cells will reduce, which in its turn will bring relief.
Besides, you cannot just reveal but avoid these symptoms by preventing cancer. How? Avert catching HPV: use condoms for sex, do not have several sex partners. A sensible option is to make a vaccine – it is not expensive, and guarantees high level of protection.
Today, survival rate of women with cancer has grown up in developed countries. This is due to the fact that people are becoming aware about the disease and its early symptoms. Those who do screening regularly decrease the risk of getting cancer several times. You don’t have to spend much time and money on it: the procedure of Pap smear sample intake requires a few minutes, and results can be obtained even via E-mail. Besides, mobile health units exist in some countries: any woman can go through screening (medical insurance is required only). You have every chance to stay healthy, so use it!
Cervical Cancer Treatment
In different states, cervical cancer treatment tactics vary considerably. Here is what modern doctors in developed countries prefer.
Stage 1 Cervical Cancer Treatment
Initial stage of disease is treated with hysterectomy: uterus and vagina fragment are removed in this case. Lymph nodes can be cut out, as well. Electrical excision procedure and cone biopsy can be selected as alternative methods. Trachelectomy is an option for those who want to have babies in the future, because it allows removing cancer cells without touching vagina and uterus. However, a few doctors are skilled in this operation, and it is not considered a standard yet. radical trachelectomy may be performed vaginally or abdominally, and opinions about which is better are different.
Stage 2 Cervical Cancer Treatment
This disease is treated by radical hysterectomy, and is complemented by radiation. It is performed either externally (as beam radiotherapy), or internally (brachytherapy).Women with high risks of disease revealed by pathologic examination are treated with radiation (chemo is optional). That reduces the chances of recurrence. tumors of more than 4 cm are treated as described above, and cisplatin-based chemo complements treatment.
Stage 3 and 4 Cervical Cancer Treatment
Advanced stages are treated with the help of hysterectomy followed up by radiation and cisplatin intake. Combination of hycamtin and cisplatin is supposed to be most effective on the last stage of disease. However, it may cause some sign effects, including: anemia, thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. To make sure the disease is cured, entire tumor should be removed with no cancer cells and tissues left. Since cervical cancer is radiosensitive, this treatment is appropriate on any stage, especially when other options are not available.
What makes treatment better?
To ensure faster and more productive treatment, do the following:
- Eat food full of nutrients and vitamins – it will improve work of immune system and give your body energy to struggle.
- Sleep enough, avoid stressful situations, and relax as much as you can. However, don’t forget about periodic exercises and walks on fresh air.
- Communicate with friends and family to get their support: it is very important to stay positive.
- HPV-conditioned cancer treatment should also be aimed at eliminating the reason of disease. Take antibiotics and other drugs to kill the virus.
Where to Get Help?
To get professional and reliable treatment, suggest being a client of a German clinic. This is the most sensible choice for people from all over Europe. There are at least five reasons to become a patient of German Medical Group.
First, cervical cancer treatment cost in Germany is cheaper than in the USA. Secondly, you can save on airplane tickets, because flying to Berlin from other locations in Europe costs around $100, while a trip to the USA is worth $500.
Thirdly, German doctors speak English fluently, and you don’t need a translator to be always around for successful communication. Besides, patients are guaranteed comfortable conditions and total care. German medicine offers the most advanced methods and drugs to deal with any stage of disease. No matter what is the stage of your cancer – doctors will do their best to help you out and diminish symptoms and complications.
Cervical cancer is one of diseases that are impossible to identify and notice by self-examination. For this reason, it is mostly diagnosed on advanced stages. However, well-timed screening allows finding it out on any stage in any woman. What are basic cervical cancer screening methods, and where you can get professional help?
Why is Examination Essential?
As a rule, screening is advised for ladies starting from 21, because the disease may start in young age, too. Screening allows defining both pre-cancer and early cancer conditions, due to which well-time treatment can be rendered. Without screening for cervical cancer, it is impossible to diagnose the disease – visual examination is not precise, and cannot guarantee good results. Self-check is physically impossible, as well.
When to Screen For Cervical Cancer?
Ideally, a woman should be screened once a year. It is especially important after 30-40 years. It is necessary for females who:
- have three or more children;
- were or are infected with genital HPV;
- smokes and has unhealthy habits;
- have relatives with cervical cancer.
Regular examinations at least once in 6-12 months should be done by people from these groups. Besides, prompt screening should be done if symptoms of cervical cancer appear. These include: vaginal discharge with unpleasant smell, bleeding after sex, painful sensations in cervix and abdomen, feces and urine discharge from vagina. All that signals about early cervical cancer.
Pap Smear Cervical Cancer Screening
This is a basic method that allows defining cancer at any stage, and is the safest and easiest procedure. It is usually assigned to reveal pre-cancer state and changes than may signal about the beginning of tumor formation. This type of screening should be done by all women of 21-65 years, and can be done in doctor’s cabinet or clinic. The procedure of sample taking is a matter of a few minutes:
- A doctor widens vagina with the help of a plastic or metal speculum.
- He or she examines vagina and cervix, and takes a few cells and mucus from vagina walls and cervix applying a soft brush.
- Cells are put into a slide or a bottle of liquid.
After that, they are examined in a laboratory. Specialists check whether the cells are normal or not. But even if cell changes are revealed, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer, because other health issue can promote changes. Further examination will show what exactly is the cause of cell alteration. HPV test can be performed along with Pap smear, the same sample can be used for that. People without medical insurance or with low income may get free Pap smear testing with the help of different programs.
If Pap smear test is not enough for identifying the disease, additional tests are performed. Colposcopy is check of cervix and vagina with the help of a colposcope – magnifying device that light up the examined area.
In this case, a doctor removes a small tissue from cervix to examine it and look for cancer or precancerous cells. In most cases, this procedure is done without anesthesia. In case of Cone biopsy, a larger amount of tissue is taken, and local anesthesia can be required. A female can have bleeding and spotting from vagina for about a week after such a procedure, but it will pass. Ibuprofen will relieve pain.
LEEP (Loop Electro-Surgical Excision Procedure)
This procedure is performed with a thin heated wire that removes tissues and precancerous cells from cervix. LEEP requires local anesthesia and can cause cramps during and after procedure. A possible side effect is strong or moderate vaginal discharge that may last up to 3 weeks.
Where screening can be done?
Don’t know where to get diagnosed? German Medical Group provides numerous clinics where professionals perform all kinds of screening. If you need a complex examination, and want to have precise results, this is the most reasonable choice. What else makes a German clinic the best option?
- Treatment, therapy and screening of cervix are 20-40% cheaper than in many other clinics abroad.
- Europeans don’t have to spend much to buy a plane ticket to Berlin. On the contrary, flying to the USA will be five times more expensive (compare Par is-Berlin trip $90 with Paris-New-York $500 flight).
- You can speak English? Perfect! There is no need to hire an entrepreneur, because German doctors know this language, too. You will understand each other and communicate freely.
- European residents don’t need Visa to enter Germany.
- German medicine uses advanced methods of treatment that allow identifying the disease with 100% accuracy. Patients are provided with maximum comfort and attention.
German Medical Group will help you to find an optimal place for treatment and a professional who is capable of dealing with your case.
Brachytherapy for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer requires difficult and long treatment that usually includes radiation procedures. To diminish its negative influence on other organs, brachytherapy was invented. What are its peculiarities, and where can it be done professionally?
What is brachytherapy?
That’s a method of invasive therapy, which means the object of radiation is located near cancer cells. As a rule, the device is a metal tube that is put into vagina. Brachytherapy for cervical cancer is traditionally used together with EBRT, being basic part of treatment. This method allows reaching cancer cells, decreasing negative influence of radiation on bladder, bowel and other organs.
How the Procedure Is Organized?
If women with hysterectomy go through the procedure, radioactive material is put into a cylinder fixed in vagina. If female’s uterus was not removed, radioactive object is put inside a metal tube. It goes into vagina and is fixed by round holders that are put close to cervix. There is an alternative method named “tandem with ring”. In this instance, a disc-like holder is put near cervix. That kind of holder is defined by the kind of therapy used.
Radiation material is put into a tube by a machine. Doctors leave the room to avoid getting radiation dose. However, a patient can talk to them with the help of a two-way microphone. Usually, radiation material is being kept inside for 15-25 minutes, after which it is automatically removed.
Types of Treatment
Low-dose brachytherapy has been preferable for many years. In this case, the source of low radiation is placed inside near cervix, and a patient has to remain in hospital bed for several days. During this time, special materials will hold the material inside.
High-dose brachytherapy does not require staying in hospital. A patient needs to go through several procedures with pauses of at least a week. In each treatment, an object of strong radiation is inserted and left for a few minutes.
What to Expect After Brachythreapy?
Such treatment is very effective, but it can take its toll on person’s general well-being. Radiation in brachytherapy doesn’t spread far, and vagina walls are mostly affected. They may turn red and become sore, discharge may appear. Some women complain about vulva irritation. There may be outcomes similar to ones of external radiation:
- light nausea;
- stomach disorders;
- permanent fatigue;
- bladder irritation;
- less blood amount.
Therapy is commonly performed together with external beam radiation, so it may be hard to say what exactly caused such outcomes. There can be more long-lasting effects, some of which are caused by scar tissues left after procedures. It makes vagina narrower, reducing its ability to stretch or making it shorter, which causes pains and discomfort during sex. However, this complication can be avoided by stretching a vagina. How can it be done? Ideally, by having sex 3-4 times a week. Another way is to use vaginal dilator. But dilator should not be used during radiation treatment – it is better to start about 2-4 weeks after it is completed.
Another side effect is vaginal dryness, which also makes sexual intercourse painful. Vaginal estrogens may help with that. Long-lasting side effects can be as follows:
- fracture of pelvis bones;
- problems with fluid draining in legs;
- lymphedema (swelling).
Where Brachytherapy Can Be Done?
If you want to get professional medical help, consider becoming a client of German Medical Group. We can find a suitable clinic in Germany for you to get diagnosed and treated properly. Don’t doubt – treatment in Germany is a sensible option for all European patients. Here are 5 reasons to choose a German clinic:
- Brachytherapy in this country costs about 30% less than in the USA. Besides, prices for surgery, procedures and therapies together with hospitalization are also far less.
- Travelling to Germany from other European countries costs several times less that flying to New York, so you can save on your trip to a clinic.
- Most doctors in German clinics know English, and can talk to a patient without an entrepreneur. If you speak English, too, you will be able to communicate with a doctor freely. This is one more way to save.
- European visitors do not need a Visa to cross German border.
- German medicine is advanced, and offers up-to-date methods of treatment. Doctors are ready to deal with very complicated cases of disease. They do the best to help people recover.
Clinics offered by German Medical Group provide top-notch treatment of all types of cancer, guaranteeing comfort and maximum care for every patient. Don’t doubt: brachytherapy performed by German doctors will be effective, safe and pain-free. With our help, cancer can be fought away successfully and with less complications!
Chemotherapy for Cervical Cancer
Chemotherapy is essential part of cancer treatment, because it helps to recover and decrease complications after surgeries and therapy. If you want to get professional help and advice of real professionals, a decent clinic should be chosen for treatment. Where to seek for high-quality help? German Medical Group offers great clinics for cervical cancer chemotherapy treatment.
When Is It Required?
Chemotherapy is aimed at killing cancer cells that might have stayed after surgery or radiation. Being absorbed into blood, chemo drugs for cervical cancer travel inside the body, which allows reaching malignant cells in all areas. Such type of treatment is suggested for patients who:
- go through treatment after having the first diagnosis;
- have cancer recurrence;
- are preparing for a surgery that is being a part of a clinical trial.
Studies show that chemotherapy may be effective on almost any stage of cervical cancer, and is a good addition, or even analogue to other types of treatment. Chemotherapy shrinks cancer cells and tumors, and now is being used as a part of neoadjuvant therapy (treatment performed before surgery) which allows removing less tissue at surgery and treating a smaller area. Besides, it reduces outcomes and symptoms of the malaise.
Duration of Chemotherapy
The vast majority of chemo drugs are tablets, and the frequency of their intake is defined by type of medication and whether it was prescribed with anything else. As a rule, this type of therapy lasts for a few days every 3-4 weeks. Medications may be injected into veins to circulate in bloodstream. Then a person rests for three-four weeks, and starts the treatment round. This is repeated six times or more for the course to be completed.
If a woman has chemoradiation, she will have chemotherapy once a week during five weeks while going through radiation course. While having weekly cervical cancer chemotherapy, a woman gets lower dose of drugs. Options for chemoradiation include:
- Cisplatin given every week while having radiation course: it in injected in a vein prior to radiation therapy.
- Cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) given in the course of radiation.
Drugs for Cervical Cancer
Cisplatin is the most widespread drug. Advanced cancer and its recurrence are cured by other remedies and their combinations. Most widespread drugs are:
- Paclitaxel (Taxol)
Most often, carboplatin and paclitaxel are used together. A doctor will assign an appropriate drug course basing on your health condition, age and disease stage.
Chemotherapy drugs for cervical cancer can trigger different outcomes: it depends on the medications used, dose and intake frequency, and individual reaction. Mind that people may have various side effects, or not to face them at all, because everybody has different reaction to this or that drug. Effect usually lasts for a few days and while using medications. There is almost nothing to be done to decrease outcomes. They include:
- Loss or thinning of hair.
- Low appetite.
- Feeling sick.
- Fatigue and lack of energy.
- Decrease of blood cells.
- Mouth ulcers and sore mouth.
Lack of blood cells may also result into higher risk of getting an infection, long recovery even after minor skin damages, and breath shortness. When chemo is combined with radiation, the above mentioned outcomes can worsen, and a woman may also face many unpleasant outcomes. Changes of periods are likely to happen after chemo, and even if woman’s periods stopped, she can still get pregnant. That is why it is important to discuss birth control options with a doctor.
Sometimes drugs and chemotherapy lead to permanent infertility, but if that did not happen, a woman can have children when the treatment is fully finished. The older patient is, the higher risk of infertility she faces.
German Clinic: the Best Option for Chemotherapy
Don’t know where to get highly professional medical help? German Medical Group offers lots of options for European patient. Now you have a chance to go through cervical cancer chemotherapy in the best German clinics. Why is that a reasonable solution?
- European patients can come over to Germany without Visa – it is not required.
- Cost of medical procedures in Germany is way less than in the USA, Australia and many other developed countries. The same applies to stationary treatment and therapies.
- The cost of flight to Germany from other European countries is several times less than flying, for instance, to New York.
- German doctors speak English, and you don’t need an entrepreneur to understand them.
- German specialists used advanced methods and therapies based on rich experience and recent research.