Cervical cancer is a common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. One of the reasons for this high mortality rate is that cervical cancer is detected at advanced stages. This makes treatments daunting since doctors have to deal with numerous symptoms.
The Hong Kong, cervical cancer program focuses on sensitizing different people about ways to prevent, mitigate risks, and treat cancer. Keep reading to learn what cervical cancer screening entails and why you must consider the early diagnosis.
Methods Used to Detect Cervical Cancer at The Primary Stage
Doctors use numerous methods to diagnose and screen for cervical cancer. However, the primary methods include:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test
HPV DNA test involves sampling cervical cells and examining their DNA for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Unfortunately, at least 80% of women worldwide are at risk of getting HPV at one point in their lives. As a result, an estimated 570 women worldwide have HPV-related cancer annually. Fortunately, Hong Kong Cervical Cancer screening tests HPV early enough before it advances into a cancerous stage.
- Pap smear
The Pap smear is painless test doctors use to detect cervical cancer at its primary stage. It involves using a speculum to hold open the a and gently remove a tissue sample from the back of the cervix. This sample is sent for testing, and results are availed within one week.
A colposcopy uses an instrument called a colposcope to examine the back of the vagina for abnormal cells or tissue growths. A colposcope looks like a magnifying glass with an impression material called cytology-grafting material (CGM).
- Cervical Cytology
Cervical Cytology entails tracking, sampling, and screening cervical cells to identify changes that can lead to cancer. Only one cell is screened simultaneously by brushing or scraping the tissue surface or fine-needle aspirations. The doctor may also conduct a tissue biopsy during cervical cytology.
During this stage, the doctor conducts an actual screening. It can be a Pap Smear, Cervical Cytology, HPV DNA test, or Colposcopy. One test may not be enough to identify the cancerous test. In this case, the doctor will conduct a series of tests, one after the other. Hong Kong Cancer Fund ensures you get all the cancer screenings without depleting your accounts.
Why is The Cervical Cancer Test Important?
Women who get tested for cervical cancer and learn they don’t have the disease can make informed choices for a better life. Cervical Cancer screening aims to:
- Find the disease before symptoms manifest
- Decrease chances of succumbing to the disease
- Remove fear, especially when your body experiences cancer-related symptoms
- Find the cure for the disease
Cancer screening tests are either negative or positive. However, some patients get abnormal results. That condition means you’re neither positive nor negative but at risk of getting a positive outcome. Therefore, your doctor will conduct a series of diagnostic tests to rule out the possibility of a positive result.
The Importance of Getting Screened and Diagnosed Early
Early cancer treatment and diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. Doctors cure cancer by identifying and handling symptoms before overcoming a patient’s immune system. Here are reasons you should consider early cancer screening:
- Early Diagnosis Improves Treatment Options
Cervical cancer at the primary stage may not be life-threatening but is still dangerous as it causes pain and discomfort. Early screening allows you to become more aware of your body’s condition and take the right action. Examples of activities that can mitigate the spread include reducing the consumption of certain foods. In addition, your doctor has numerous options like chemotherapy or radiotherapy to help kill the tumor before it spreads.
- Early Diagnosis Help Identify Symptoms Before They Appear
Early cervical cancer screening identifies potential symptoms of a problem called dysplasia. These are abnormal cells with risks of becoming cancerous but are not yet abnormal enough to be dangerous. Adverse dysplasia symptoms include heavy menses, hip pain, and unstable hip joint.
- Treatment For Early Diagnosis Is Less Intrusive
Early diagnosis allows the patient to undergo a less invasive but more effective treatment. Cervical cancer at advanced spreads into lung, bones, liver, and lymph nodes. As a result, your doctor may recommend treatment for other body organs if you wait for a late diagnosis.
- Early Detection Guarantees Up to 90% Survival Rate
The earlier you are diagnosed with cancer, the higher the chances of successful treatment. If you are diagnosed with cancer within five years of your initial symptoms, you have a 90% chance of living five years or more after diagnosis. The percentage drops to 50% for patients diagnosed at the advanced cancer stages.
- It Improves the Quality of Life for People with Cancer
Cancer treatment is painful and debilitating. However, early screening and detection enable cancer patients to continue their daily activities while undergoing treatments.
What to Expect During Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
Cervical cancer screening is a step-by-step procedure that entails the following processes:
Review of Medical History
The first step in the diagnostic process is a review of your medical history. Your doctor will discuss recent health changes, illnesses, or injuries that may have altered your natural immune response. The goal is to determine whether you have a current infection that causes symptoms.
The physical examination is an opportunity to see how cancer has affected your body. During cervical cancer examination, your doctor will check for:
- A lump or bump that might be a tumor.
- Heavy bleeding or discharge from your vagina, anus, penis, or mouth.
- Changes in your bowel habits.
- An unexplained change in strength or feeling in one arm or leg for more than two weeks
- A change in memory that lasts longer than one month without an apparent cause (dementia)
Other Diagnostic Tests
Depending on your health status, the doctor may perform other tests to evaluate the liver, pancreas, and kidney conditions. These organs are at risk of being affected by cervical cancer. They can help determine the possibilities of cervical cancer in women with abnormal results.
Cervical cancer treatment can take away the things from you that are important. These include your ability to work, friends and family, independence, sense of humor, and many more. The best way to deal with cancer is early detection and cancer screening!