Cervical cancer is seen on the lower part of the uterus (cervix). The cervix is the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina and expands during delivery. This cancer type generally effects women age 30 years and above, with 20% diagnosed over 65 years old.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a major cause of cervical cancer. It is possible to detect cervical cancer with a Pap smear and HPV test. In the Pap test, a sample is taken from the cervical cells and it is determined whether there are any abnormalities. In case of abnormal Pap smear results, advanced examinations such as cervical biopsy can be applied. Most cervical cancers occur in women who have not previously had a Pap smear.
Cervical Cancer Stages
Determining the stage of the disease in each type of cancer is a general procedure followed to decide treatment methods. In this sense, cervical cancer is classified in 4 main stages:
Stage I: Cancer is in the cervix and has not spread.
1a) Microscopic cancer limited to the cervix, visible only by biopsy
1b) Cancer can be seen with the naked eye during the examination
b1) Cancer smaller than 4 cm
b2) Cancer larger than 4 cm
Stage II: Cancer has started to spread beyond the cervix. Soft Tissue Sarcoma near the cervix, cancer that has spread to the vaginal dome (vaginal cuff).
Stage III (locally advanced): The cancer has spread beyond the cervix and the following signs / symptoms have started to appear:
- Mass sensation in the vaginal region
- The enlarged lymph nodes may cause leg swelling
- Blockage to the urine tract
Stage IV (advanced or metastatic): The cancer has spread beyond the cervix or any of the above-mentioned areas and has spread to distant organs such as a bladder, rectum, bones, liver or lung.
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More than 15,000 clinical trials are currently recruiting patients of all cancer types and stages.
What are cervical cancer symptoms?
There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of this cancer. Diagnosis can be made only by the abnormal Pap smear detected during routine gynecological examination. The most important issue to know is that cervical cancer progresses very slowly. As a result, many years may pass without any serious symptoms.
Abnormal bleeding may indicate early-stage cervical cancer when it occurs between two periods, after sexual intercourse or during menopause. Other symptoms include vaginal discharge that is watery, pink, pale and continuous and menstrual periods with more bleeding than usual and lasting longer.
In advanced stage patients:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue, exhaustion
- Pelvic pain that may radiate to the back or legs
- Bone pain or fracture if tumor spreads to the bones
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal bleeding
Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials Diagnosis and Treatment
Control of symptoms and pain in metastatic stage cervical cancer is the main goal of treatment. This can be achieved with the combination of local radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
For many years there was no significant progress in the treatment of cervical cancer.
Medicines such as Cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil are known to produce more effective results combined with radiation therapy in killing cancer cells. The type and aim of cancer treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the stage of the disease. The potential benefits and risks of treating cancer should be carefully balanced with experts on the subject.
Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials focus on observing the impact of new drugs or treatment strategies. Because cervical cancer can recur after initial treatment, enrolling in clinical trials is the way for the scientific community to fight cancer and trying innovative treatments with for these patients.
Patients wishing to participate in Stage 4 Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials should discuss the risks and possible benefits of clinical trials with their physicians. You can contact Massive Bio to make sure you get the best treatment for your illness and to evaluate the results of new treatments and clinical trials.