About Cervical Cancer
What Is Cervical Cancer?
Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal division of out of control cells. This process is caused by certain damages in the DNA of the cells. These cells expand and produce more abnormal cells, a process that leads to the invasion of certain organs.
The cervix is the lower section of the uterus, that connects it with the vagina. Cervical cancer does not appear rapidly, as in this area, several changes can take place before the cancer sets in. The parts of the cervix that are closer to the womb, and, respectively, to the vagina, contain two different sets of cells: squamous cells and glandular cells. There is a portion where both cell types are present, that area is called the transformation zone, and it is the area where cancer cells start spreading more often.
There are several signs that can announce the preformation of cervical cancer: cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), and dysplasia. All these can be detected by taking the Pap test, and they are all treatable and prevent the developmpent of cancerous cells on the lining of the cervix.
Cervical cancers are classified under two main types: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The vast majority of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, derived from the cells with the same name that cover the portion of the cervix that is closest to the vagina.
The adenocarcinoma forms from the mucus gland cells of the portion of the cervix that is closest to the uterus. Cervical cancer may also consist of mixed cells: adenosquamous carcinomas.
The cause for cervical cancer is Human Papillomavirus (HPV). It is the second largest cause of female cancer mortality: it causes 288.000 deaths a year. Anually, about half a million cases are reported worlwide. Most cases occur in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
HPV infection is caused by a group of over 100 types of viruses that are sexually transmitted, both in men and women. Certain viruses present a higher health risk and can lead to cancer.
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