Stage 1 Cervical Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Stage 1 cervical cancer is the earliest stage in cervical cancer. At this stage, the cancer has only invaded the cervical tissue and has not spread to other tissues in the body. Check out the explanation of the symptoms and prevention in the following review.
What is Stage 1 Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that affects the cervix or cervix. The cervix is a narrow part under the uterus which is the entrance to the uterus. Just like cancer in general, cervical cancer is also generally divided into 4 stages and stage 1 is the initial stage.
Stage 1 cervical cancer is a condition where the cancer has spread from the cervical lining to deeper tissues, but is still in the uterine area. At this stage, the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
In Indonesia, cervical cancer cases are estimated to reach 15,000 per year. The death rate is also quite high.
Symptoms of Stage 1 Cervical Cancer
In the early stages, a person with cervical cancer may not feel any symptoms. That is what makes this condition more difficult to recognize.
- Bleeding outside of menstruation. Experiencing bleeding outside the menstrual cycle is an unnatural condition. This can be a sign of problems in the reproductive area, including cervical cancer.
- Bleeding in postmenopause. A postmenopausal woman should not experience bleeding. If you suddenly experience menstruation again, this is a sign of a problem in the uterus.
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse. Tumor growth in the cervix makes sexual activity painful.
- Discharge that smells or is bloody. Leucorrhoea that is watery, pink, brown, or has a strong odor needs to be watched out for.
- Pelvic pain Tumors that develop in the cervix can cause pain in the pelvis.
Advanced cervical cancer may cause more severe symptoms than early stage cancer.
Also Read: Getting to Know Immunotherapy, Methods for Treating Various Types of Cancer
Causes of Stage 1 Cervical Cancer
The cause of cervical cancer is not known with certainty, but it is certain that there is a role for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Basically HPV is a common virus and not everyone who has HPV will develop cervical cancer. Environmental and lifestyle factors will determine whether cervical cancer will develop or not.
Cancer begins to develop when DNA mutations occur in healthy cells of the cervix. These mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and these cells do not die. In fact, cells should die at a certain time.
This abnormal cell development then forms a mass called a tumor. Cancer cells will attack the surrounding tissue and can spread and attack other tissues in the body.
There are several risks that can increase a person’s chances of developing cervical cancer, including:
- Having multiple sexual partners or being sexually active at an early age. The spread of the HPV virus can occur through contact with individuals who have the HPV virus. Women who have many sexual partners have a high risk of getting the HPV virus.
- Use of birth control pills. Long-term consumption of contraceptive pills can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
- Smoke. This habit can increase the number of free radicals in the body so that cells become easily mutated. In addition, smoking can also increase other cancers.
- Suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. Having a history of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
- Weak immune system. You are more susceptible to this condition when the immune system is weak due to certain health conditions.
Diagnosis of Stage 1 Cervical Cancer
In addition to seeing symptoms, screening tests such as pap smears and HPV tests can help detect cancer or the presence of precancerous cells.
If the doctor detects abnormal cells, the doctor will recommend several other tests.
The following are tests that can support the diagnosis:
- Biopsy. The doctor will take samples of cervical tissue which are then tested in the laboratory to kill the presence of cancer cells.
- Imaging test. Tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or PET can help see if the cancer has spread. This test is part of a test to determine the stage of cancer.
- Visual examination of the bladder and rectum. This examination is also carried out in the stages of determining the stage of cancer. The doctor will look at the condition of the bladder and rectum to determine whether the cancer has spread to these areas.
Stages of Cervical Cancer Stage 1
Stage I cervical cancer can be said to be the mildest stage of cancer. Stage I is further divided into several parts. Setting the stage of cancer grouping seen based on tumor size and spread.
The following are the stages in early-stage cervical cancer:
1. Stage IA
In stage IA, the cancer growth is so small that microscopy or colposcopy is needed to see it. Stage IA cervical cancer is divided into 2:
- Stage IA1: tumor grows less than 3 mm into the cervical tissue and is less than 7 mm wide.
- Stage IA2: tumor grows between 3-5 mm into the cervical tissue, but is less than 7 mm wide.
2. Stage IB
At this stage, the cancer is larger but has not spread to tissues beyond the cervix. Sometimes at this stage the cancer can be seen without a microscope. Stage IB is divided into 3:
- Stage IB1: tumor has grown 5 mm or more into the cervical tissue and is less than 2 cm wide.
- Stage IB2: tumor has grown 2 cm or more into the cervical tissue and is less than 4 cm wide.
- Stage IB3: tumor has grown up to 4 cm into the cervical tissue and is more than 4 cm wide.
Stage 1 Cervical Cancer Treatment
Treatment is determined based on the type and stage of the cancer. Stage 1 cervical cancer treatment usually includes surgery or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Surgery can be in the form of removal of the cervix and uterus or it is also called a hysterectomy. Some cases where cervical cancer is still very early, removal of part of the cervix may be done.
If only part of the cervix is removed, you still have the possibility of getting pregnant. The procedure for removing part of the cervix is called radical trachelectomy.
2. Combination of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
The combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is also known as chemoradiotherapy. Generally, chemoradiotherapy is applied to treat stage IB cervical cancer.
External radiotherapy is carried out 5 days a week and is carried out for 5 weeks. You will receive internal radiotherapy at the end of each procedure.
During radiotherapy, you will receive chemotherapy once a week or once every 2-3 weeks, depending on the type of chemotherapy received.
Cervical Cancer Prevention
There are several ways you can do to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, including:
1. Doing the HPV Vaccine
Receiving the HPV vaccine can lower your risk of developing cervical cancer and other cancers related to the HPV virus. If you have never received the HPV vaccine as a child or teenager, then this vaccine can be given as an adult according to the doctor’s instructions.
The following are recommendations for giving the HPV vaccine:
- Girls 10-12 years: repeat dose 3 times within 6 months
- If the HPV vaccine is given for the first time at the age of 13 years: 2 repeat doses are sufficient within 1 year.
The HPV vaccine does not prevent cervical cancer 100 percent. This vaccine is only able to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
2. Do Pap Smears Routinely
Doing Pap smears regularly is an effective way to prevent the development of cervical cancer. The faster the growth of cancer cells is known, the easier it is to handle.
It is recommended for women aged 21-29 years to have a serial check once every 3 years. When women enter the age of 30-65 years, it is advisable to do a pap smear every 3-5 years.
3. Practicing Safe Sex
One of the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of cervical cancer is to have safe sexual activity. Therefore, avoid changing partners. Make sure your sexual partner uses a condom when having sex.
4. Avoid Cigarette Smoke
Smoking or being a passive smoker both have a high risk of getting cervical cancer and other cancers. Therefore, you are advised to stay away from cigarette smoke.
Early-stage cervical cancer often does not show any special symptoms. Therefore, it is important to carry out routine checks. Don’t forget to always live a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of getting this disease.
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