Sunday, June 16, 2019

Cervical Cancer (Oriental Medicine View)

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General information

– The most common cancer for women

The uterus is divided along the two parts: lower uterine segment and endometrium. Because the cancer in the area of endometrium is rare, uterine cancer refers mostly to cervical cancer. This cancer occurs in the boundary between uterocervical canal epithelium and vaginal epithelium. Married or those who have delivery experiences are riskier than those who not.

Cervical cancer, the most common cancer for women, accounts for 16% of all women cancers. However, the death rate is lowering with the early detection and treatment.

– Regular check-up is inevitable

This cancer doesn’t abruptly occur; it occurs as the normal cells are getting transformed to cancer cells. With the procedure called, neoplasia inside epithelial cells, the cancer is made; it takes about 10 years. Moreover, like other types of cancer, it is hard to detect the early symptom. Therefore, regular check-up and early detection is the most important factor.

– Cervical intraepithelial cancer is common between the age of 25 and 40

The age range of cervical cancer is around 40s and 50s; however, Cervical intraepithelial cancer occurs in relative younger ages between 25 and 40. The rate is recently increasing. Compared with other cancer test, this one is not painful and cheap.

The causes

– Lifestyle

Although there are many studies and researches on this cancer up to now, the specific causes have not been clarified. However, it is reported that there are some common factors found in the patients of this cancer: age, the years of sexual life, the times of delivery, the first year of sex, the number of sexual counterpart, the yes or no of phimosiectomy and hygiene of male counterpart, venereal infection, virus, race, social and economic status, or genetic factor.

– High risk behavior

Although there has not been any specific reason found so far, high risk sexual behavior is allegedly the prime cause. Indiscriminate sexual life must be avoided. The risk is more than 2 to 10 times higher.

– Herpes simplex virus type 2

Herpes simplex is a kind of herpes that are commonly found around lips, and those found in progenitalis are reportedly due to the sexual contacts. However, this symptom doesn’t directly develop to the cancer. Human papillomavirus which is transmitted from men to women accelerates the development of cancer. The symptoms are blisters that are too painful to urinate when broken.

– No pain, no disease?

In most cases, the pain from cancer occurs when the disease is in the last stage and the cancer cells keep putting pressure on the sensory nerves. In cervical cancer, the pain occurs in its third stage, and the survival rate is lowered to 70%.

The symptoms

The variant form of elephantiasis is the first change found during the procedures of cervical cancer.

It develops to intraepithelial cancer, and the intraepithelial cancer turns to carcinoma. From the variant form of elephantiasis to death, it takes about more than 15 years. Like other cancers, there is almost no symptom found in the early stage.

– Bleeding or no symptom in the early stage

In the early stage of cervical cancer, vaginal bleeding, though it is not severe, occurs. The vaginal bleeding is often confused with menstruation. Therefore, if bleeding occurs in other times, it should be checked. However, even in the further stage of cancer, bleeding may not occur. Once made, the quantity increases and it gets too severe to breathe. High chances are it is the cancer when bleeding occurs during evacuating, after menopause or sexual intercourse.

– Malodor from vaginal discharge

Ordinarily, vaginal discharge smells a little bit sourish. But in the third stage of cervical cancer, it smells like decaying human fresh. Sometimes, rose pink blood is mixed. The severer the symptom, the more and harder the discharge gets.

– Pain occurs in the last stage

Lower abdominal pressure, back pain, abdominal pain, lower limb pain occur when the cancer gets severe. When painkiller is no use to ease the pain, it needs to be doubted.

– Disorder of urine

The symptoms are frequent or intermittent urination and bloody urine. There are found in the last stage of the cancer. General lassitude follows.

Treatment

Excision is the common operational treatment for the cervical cancer. The survival rate is: 100% when detected in the very early stage, 90% in the first stage, 80% in the second stage, 70% in the third stage, 60% in the fourth stage.

– Cheap and not painful test

Although the test on cervical cancer is cytologic examination, 100% of accuracy can’t be guaranteed. Recently, for the more accuracy of test, devices like endocervical brush metroscope are used. In case of carcinoma, recurring rate within 2 years is 60% and within 5 years, 95%, therefore for 2 years after surgery, patient should be testes every 3 months and for 3 years after then, testing should be done every 6 months.

– Treatments differ in each stage

In the very early stage, laser or excision is enough to remove or root out the cancer cells that don’t transmit to other organs or lymph node; in the first or second stage, hysterectomy is made to take out uterus, appendages and lymph node, and when the cancer cells spread to remote organs, radiotherapy or anticancer therapy accompanies; in the third or fourth stage, operation can’t be made, therefore radiotherapy and anticancer therapy are mixed.

– When there is another disease…

Depending on the age or the ‘yes or no’ of patient’s wish to be pregnant, the treatment differs. Generally, the treatments for the cervical cancer are divided into two: local destruction treatment and operational treatment. The former is used for the patients who are rather young and wishing to be pregnant, and the symptoms are not serious; the latter is used when the patients in the serious stages. The anaesthesia or operation can be dangerous if the patients are not in good condition or suffering from other diseases like diabetes, or those in thyroid gland, heart or kidney.

Prevention

– Proper sexual life

The prime factor of cervical cancer is papilloma virus. Although the reason is not specified, the virus reportedly infiltrates to lower uterine segment and cause the cancer. Sexual intercourse before the age of 18 is risky and heightens the possibility of virus infection because the segment is not fully built. Other than these, man who is having the improper and frequent sexual affairs with other women can transmit this to his spouse.

– Phimosis

Hygiene is also an important factor. The clean and hygienic genital of male spouse can lessen the possibility of infection.

– Quit smoking

Other reasons for cervical cancer can be listed as malnutrition, stress and smoking. When the immune system in the body is strong, the infection rate shrinks.

– Early detection

The most desired and effective way of preventing the cancer is no doubt the early detection and treatment. Most patients do not feel or recognize his or her critical situation because there is usually no pain or symptoms found until it turns to the fatal situation. Regular check-ups once a year is highly recommended.

FAQ

Question: Is oral contraceptive a factor of causing cervical cancer?

Answer: The report on the relation has not been made so far. The reason may be that those who usually need oral contraceptive are relatively young and having sexual relations for many times or with many counterparts.

Question: Is uterine myoma highly related to cervical cancer?

Answer: Uterine myoma is kind of a benign tumor found in about 25% of women in their middle age. There is little possibility that the uterine myoma develops to the cancer. However, its size is as big as one man’s fist, or it gets abruptly bigger for 3 to 6 months, the operations like hysteromyotomy or hysterectomy are desired to be done.

Question: Is cervical cancer a transmittable disease?

Answer: Cervical cancer is the most deeply related to the sexual life. Human papillomavirus is found to be the prime factor that causes normal cells to become the cancer cells. Since the first infection with the virus, it takes 7 to 10 years for cervical cancer to be initiated. More than 90% of cervical cancer patients, this virus has been detected. Therefore, it is highly transmittable by man.

Question: Does it occur even after the check-ups?

Answer: Usually, the cytologic examination is used for the test. The accuracy is about 60%. For this reason, it sometimes can’t be the full-proof against the symptoms like variant form of elephantiasis.

However, the followings are doing the supplementary role and also heightening the accuracy of tests: colposcopy, hysteroscopy, tissue test.

Wang Wei
Wang Wei is a holistic health practitioner in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

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