martes, 17 de mayo de 2011

Cervical Cancer

Types | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Stages | Treatment
Cervical cancer or cancer of the cervix is an abnormal growth of malignant (cancer) cells  in the cervix. It is the second most common cancer in females and it is successfully curable in the early stages. Cervical cancer occurs most commonly between 40 and 55  years of age. 
The cervix is the opening of the uterus connected to the upper vagina. It is known as the neck of the uterus. The lower end of the cervix has an opening called the external os, and before childbirth it is about 5mm in diameter. It dilates to 10cm during labour  to allow for childbirth and never regains its former shape, changing to a slit approximately 7mm long.  Normally the cervix is pink in colour but turns bluish in pregnancy because of an increased blood supply.

The surface layer of the cervix is made up of two different types of cells, flat cells called squamous cells and tall column-like gland cells called columnar cells. This produces a mucous membrane, but the mucous membrane of the cervix is smooth. The place where squamous and columnar cells meet is known as the transformation zone and this is the area of the cervix where cancer most commonly arises.  The cancer cells may be present in the cervix for 4-10 years before becoming invasive, affecting the deeper tissues and giving rise to symptoms. Even when the cancer is invasive , there is an 80% chance of successful cure. Once it spreads through the pelvis to the vagina, uterus, bladder or rectum, it is much more difficult to cure. 
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