Cervical Cancer – Symptoms and Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer: malignant cancer of the cervix uteri or cervical area. It may present with vaginal bleeding but symptoms may be absent until the cancer is in its advanced stages, which has made cervical cancer the focus of intense screening efforts using the Pap smear. In developed countries, the widespread use of cervical screening programs has reduced the incidence of invasive cervical cancer by 50% or more.

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb). It is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The body (upper part) of the uterus, is where a fetus grows. The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix. The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervix). The place where these 2 parts meet is called the transformation zone. Most cervical cancers start in the transformation zone.

About 85% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which develop in the scaly, flat, skinlike cells covering the cervix. Most other cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas, which develop from gland cells, or adenosquamous carcinomas, which develop from a combination of cell types.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Symptoms usually don’t appear until abnormal cervical cells become cancerous and invade nearby tissue. When this happens, the most common symptom is abnormal bleeding, which may start and stop between regular menstrual periods or may occur after sexual intercourse.

Bleeding from the vagina that is not normal,or a change in your menstrual cycle that you can’t explain.

Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before. Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam.

Pain during urination: Bladder pain or pain during urination can be a symptom of advanced cervical cancer. This cervical cancer symptom usually occurs when cancer has spread to the bladder.

Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer most commonly begins in the thin, flat cells that line the bottom of the cervix (squamous cells). Squamous cell carcinomas account for about 80 percent of cervical cancers. Cervical cancer can also occur in the glandular cells that line the upper portion of the cervix.

Genetic material that comes from certain forms of HPV has been found in cervical tissues that show cancerous or precancerous changes.

Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. You get HPV by having sex with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms.

The virus is a sexually transmitted disease. There are more than 50 types of human papilloma virus (HPV) that infect humans. Types 6 and 11 usually cause warts, while types 16, 18, 31 and 33 usually result in high-grade cervical dysplasia (CIN-2 and CIN-3) and carcinomas.

More than 90 percent of all cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, and researchers believe that this cancer may be a sexually transmitted disease. There is much evidence that cervical carcinoma is related to sexually transmitted organisms.

Chemical exposure: Women who work on farms or in the manufacturing industry may be exposed to chemicals that can increase their risk of cervical cancer.

Women who have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, often take drugs that weaken the body’s natural immunity or its ability to fight off disease. These women also have an increased risk for cervical cancer and should be closely monitored by their gynecologist for the development of precancerous changes to the cervix.

Barbara’s Ovarian Cancer Story, Part III

Happy Thanksgiving 2006

Barbara’s continued Ovarian Cancer Story:

It’s been two years since my last article and I have a lot to share with you. Presently, I’m sitting in my cozy little office/guest room, in my cozy house on Whidbey Island, Washington. Rosie-the-cat is reclining on the windowsill and we’re both staring out at the wind-whipped trees and billowing, dark clouds being blown across the sky. It’s very beautiful and I’m very grateful to be here!

At my last writing, I had just completed eight cycles of heavy-duty chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer and was in remission, ready to celebrate a very special Thanksgiving with my family. (See articles 1 and 2 on the “articles” page at http://www.dstress.com.) Those holidays were wonderful. I felt healthy, had hair, was working and exercising and planning my retirement date, (September 2005), and subsequent move to our home in Washington. Being an inveterate planner/list-maker and worrier, I organized the retirement and move to within an inch of its life. I knew when my last day of work would be; how much vacation time I had on the books and what day we’d be packing up. John made his plans to close his office and relocate his business. We were done with cancer and ready to move on! Well, as we all know, life has a way of not always going according to plan. We were about to be thrown a real curve-ball.

In March, we took a great trip to Arizona to celebrate my birthday. On the drive from Phoenix to Bisbee to visit friends, we marveled at the lush green desert, abloom with flowers after recent rains. Locals told us that this beauty lasted about two weeks before fading to gold and brown, and people had learned not to take it for granted. Well, that’s true about anything, isn’t it?

The day after we returned from our vacation, a message on the answering machine said a new suspicious mass had been found on my most recent CT scan, the one I had done before we left for Arizona. I was devastated and furious and terrified! I ranted and I raved and I screamed, scaring John and the cat. What about my plans? My retirement? Moving to my new home? What about my life? I don’t want more surgery, more chemo! I don’t want to lose my hair again! I feel fine and healthy- how can this be happening AGAIN? I had taken for granted that the first surgery and chemo had worked and I was cured. But in fact, 70-90% of people have recurrence at some point in time. I just didn’t think I would be one of them. I had to completely let go of my carefully orchestrated master-plan and face this challenge head on.

June found me back at UCSF for major surgery for removal of a tumor that was very close, but not on, the liver. Because ovarian cancer cells tend to migrate to the spleen and gallbladder, they also removed those organs. I was lucky to have access to one of the best surgeons in the country and post-op reports stated that they had completely removed all the cancer! I used all the same tools to prepare pre op and postoperatively as I had for my first surgery and my recovery was good. I was home in five days and back to work in five weeks. I started chemo in July.

On December 1, 2005, I had my last chemo cycle. Other than a very low blood count (I was very anemic and my white count was very low), I tolerated the treatments fairly well. Acupuncture, visualization, exercise and supplements all played an important part in my work to stay as strong and healthy as possible. My hair thinned considerably, but I didn’t have to wear wigs or cover-ups. With the particular drug regimen I was on, there is a 60% chance of hair loss. Before treatments started, I researched the web for any products that might minimize this side effect. I found a product called E.V.P.3 Chemaid. The website is:www.evp3.com. It provides good information and research so I decided to give it a try. I don’t know if it was the chemaid, the different type of drugs regimen and dosage, supplements or all of the above, but I kept the majority of my hair. Seems like such a minor thing when you are fighting for your life. Yet sometimes those small things make a difference in quality of life. I felt that I looked healthier and “normal” and that translated into not feeling like a cancer patient.

The new year brought new resolution to finally make our plans to retire and move. My labs were good, my scans were clear and we moved to Whidbey Island in May. We’ve been involved in projects ever since.

First on the agenda was painting the inside and the outside of the house. Just as John and I have been a good team in my healing process, we’ve made a good team in working on our home. And it’s been fun! We dug a garden using picks and shovels. We built planter boxes and created a Zen rock garden; we yanked out a huge juniper bush and planted roses and dahlias. At the end of the day we collapsed into recliners with such a good feeling of accomplishment. I’ve never used my muscles like that before. I’d be exhausted by 8pm-it was such a good kind of tired. One of my favorite activities was sitting in the dirt, pulling weeds. The sun on my shoulders, eagles soaring overhead, the smell of earth and flowers and growing things became a huge part of my healing process. I visualized my immune system plucking out and “disappearing” any unhealthy cells from my body with each weed I pulled. Working in the garden has become a wonderful meditation for me. I clear my mind and totally focus on the task at hand. Learning how to live in the moment is an ongoing lesson, and I have to continually find a balance between artful planning and my natural tendency to organize the future. I’ve learned a greater appreciation of each sunrise and sunset. I notice the rhythm of my breathing and muscle movement when I walk and hike. I take time to pick up interesting bits of wood from the beach and decorate my garden with them. I revel in the love of my family and dear friends. I consciously practice NOT taking anything for granted and I try to live each moment joyfully. I have a favorite mantra that I recite to myself on my daily walks. “thank you for all the blessings I enjoy; thank you for my health today; thank you for my family and friends; thank you for allowing me to spend time in this beautiful place; thank you for the gift of life! And wouldn’t it be very, very nice if abundance cascades into my life and into those I love-abundance of health-physical, emotional and spiritual; and financial abundance.

I wish I could say that with all the meditation and mantras, I now lead a joyful, positive life. The truth is that I have my ups and downs; my incredibly joyful moments along with times of fear, sadness and anger. I go into worry-mode when it’s time for lab work and waiting for results. I get fearful about any new ache or pain (does this mean the cancer is back?) I vacillate between should I go ahead and spend money on redoing the kitchen now or keep that money in savings a little longer. Sometimes I feel caught between living in the moment and wanting to plan future projects for next year, two years from now, five years from now. And I still get angry that this happened to me, even though I’ve learned many lessons in the past few years. One of the main lessons I’m starting to grasp is that life is an act of faith. When I was planting the garden, I mostly put in vegetables and flowers that would reward me with bouquets and crops right away. My act of faith in the future was planting a cherry tree. My daily prayer is that I’ll be around to enjoy the blossoms and pluck the cherries.

This year we will celebrate Thanksgiving in our new home. We’ll share our gratitude with friends and family; we’ll feast and watch football; and we’ll toast to health, happiness and prosperity. The garden hibernates now beneath a blanket of red and gold leaves. The tulips, daffodils and hyacinths I planted last week rest and wait until it’s their time to burst forth into colorful splendor. And I rest, write, clean closets and enjoy indoor projects as I wait for spring, when I’ll burst out to nurture and be nurtured in my garden.

Here’s to rainy days and warm fires NOW and digging in the dirt in the FUTURE.

Happy Thanksgiving

Barbara Ehlers-Mason

Whidbey Island, WA

In-Spite of Cervical Cancer – Sandra Insisted to Have a Baby

In-spite of having cervical cancer, Sandra Kent still wants to have a baby and fight for her right to get pregnant. She was adamant after having been into surgical treatment right after she has recovered giving birth to her child Ariel.

The level of responsiveness, perseverance as well as motherhood

Sandra Kent’s thrashing tale of life started with a twilight phone call about six years have passed. On the line was the secretary of the gynecologist telling her that after truthful and careful tests, the test that was made was invalid. She then who was at her 33rd age carried out the test again. After waiting for quite sometimes, the result was ready and she was asked to go to the clinic.”In just a couple of hours I was already there,” Mrs. Kent said. “The doctor made certain and told me that the result only requires removal of small lesions and could be done with local anesthesia.” Later she was supported by her family and friends to Dr. Hanna Shapiro for a surgery.

And that was when her, Sandra’s, worries had begun. Right after the said surgery, her doctor told her that it wasn’t possible to take out all the cancer cells thus another surgical operation is needed in order to save her life. ” I could hardly utter any word, should I do it, it will mean not to bear a child anymore.” Yet the doctor exclaimed, “We’re here for your life and not for your ambitions”

Sandra Kent was like being wrecked. On the other hand, her friend doctor, Dr. Shapiro, cheered her up. She told her about the surgery abroad which could still preserve the uterus after the operation. This kind of operation was mastered by Proffessor Daniel Edraz June – a well known expert in Lyon, France.

Sandra: “Statistics shows that there were already two Israelite women who undergone cervical operation abroad. I have called one and she motivated me and passed me to Dr. Ofer Lavie, the head of the gynecology unit of Caramel Medical Center in Haifa.” He has not done the cervical operation but he has compiled the information with regards to these instances in Israel and escorted the two patient for operation abroad.

“There I met him, Dr. Lavie and he educated me that it is upon the operation with the findings would be possible to conclude whether or not to remove and or preserve the uterus. He then added that there is a great risk of miscarriage whenever pregnant. However I opted to undergo the operation.”

Dr. Lavie’s colleague, Prof. Uzi Beller who is also a gynecologist and the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem invited Professor Edraz John, an expert from France to do the operation. The successful operation was happened on July 2003 at Caramel Medical Center and gynecologists throughout Israel watched the live broadcast airing out the good news. As Sandra open her eyes, Dr. Lavie told her, “inside the womb.” Sandra, “As I heard those words, I grinned and sleep again.”

Sandra was then released a week after the successful surgery informed that the lesions were taken out. Yet, she have to do follow up check up and to avoid getting pregnant within the early six months.

Get Well, Wedding, Birth

Time goes by and she met Tom, a medical expert from China. They were exclusively dating and few months later, they were married. They have been trying to let her conceive but she wasn’t able to until a couple of months. After the many attempts, she was pregnant but then miscarriage twice. Consulting to Professor Howard Achfaf pointed out that the miscarriage were associated with thyroid function which regulates the metabolism of the body.

Sandra: “I just took Altroxen pill daily and a couple of months later I was pregnant already. I really prayed and prayed that the pregnancy will endure.”

On the 29th week, Sandra was bleeding so she was rushed to the hospital to save the pregnancy until giving birth. On the 36th week, she was starting contractions and water breaking. Finally, after six years from surgery, a healthy baby was born via cesarean on the 20th of July from a mother who undergone cervix tumor surgery. The baby is now five months old in the name of Ariel.

Sandra Kent says, “Do all the required tests. We also have to know that doctors don’t always know all the solutions to your problems. Consult and check yourself and devote to a doctor who will treat you as human with life and emotion not just for medical records.”