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Cancer / Oncology

All that you need to know about colon cancer

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As tumorous growths develop in the large intestine, colon cancer grows. Now it is the third most common form of cancer in the U.S.

The colon, or large intestine, is where the body takes out toxic waste water and salt. The waste then passes through the rectum, and exits through the anus through the body.

Colon cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States, too. In addition, in 2019, the American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts that a new diagnosis of colon cancer will be made to 101,420 people in the US.

Healthcare experts suggest attending routine colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50.

Also common is colorectal cancer which describes co-occurring cancer of the colon and rectal cancer. Rectal cancer originates in the rectum nearest to the anus, which is the final few inches of the large intestine.

In this article we look at how colon cancer can be detected and treated, why it progresses and how it can be avoided.

Colon cancer is one of the commonest types of cancer in the United States.
Colon cancer is one of the commonest types of cancer in the United States.

The early stages of colon cancer frequently have no symptoms. Symptoms, however, may become more apparent as they develop.

These signs and symptoms may include:

  • diarrhea or constipation
  • changes in stool consistency
  • loose, narrow stools
  • blood in the stool, which may or may not be visible
  • abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, or gas
  • continual urges to defecate despite passing stools
  • weakness and fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • iron deficiency anemia

This may cause further symptoms in the new region if the cancer spreads to a new place in the body, such as the liver.

Stages

There are various ways to relate cancer to one point. The phases indicate how far a cancer has spread and how large the tumors are.

The phases of colon cancer develop as follows:

  • Stage 0: Also known as in situ carcinoma, the cancer is in a very early stage at this point. It has not expanded much further than the colon’s inner layer, and is typically easy to handle.
  • Stage 1: The cancer has spread into the next tissue layer but has not penetrated either the lymph nodes or any other organ.
  • Stage 2: The cancer has entered the colon’s outer layers but hasn’t spread beyond the colon.
  • Stage 3: Cancer has risen across the colon’s outer layers, entering one or three lymph nodes. It has however not spread to distant locations.
  • Stage 4: The cancer entered other tissues outside the colon wall. The colon cancer enters remote areas of the body as stage 4 progresses.

Treatment options

Treatment depends on the form and stage of cancer in the colon. A doctor should also take into account an individual’s age, overall health status and other factors when deciding on the appropriate care choice.

Any cancer does not get a single medication. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the commonest treatments for colon cancer.

Treatment should aim to suppress the cancer, prevent it from spreading, and reduce any unpleasant symptoms.

Surgery

Doctors performing surgery
Surgery is one possible treatment for colon cancer.

Chirurgy for extracting part or more of the colon is called a colectomy. During this operation, both the section of the colon that houses the cancer and some of the surrounding area may be removed by a surgeon.

They would usually eliminate neighboring lymph nodes, for example, to reduce the possibility of spreading. Instead the surgeon either reassembles the healthy part of the colon or produces a stoma, depending on the severity of the colectomy.

A stoma is an surgical opening in the abdominal wall. Through this opening, waste passes into a bag which removes the need for the colon’s lower portion. That’s known as colostomy.

Many surgical procedures include:

  • Endoscopy: This procedure can require a surgeon to remove some small, localized cancers. They’ll insert a small, flexible tube with attached light and video. It will also have a binding to eliminate cancerous tissue.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: There are many small incisions in the abdomen that a surgeon makes. This could be an choice for extracting larger polyps.
  • Palliative surgery: The aim of this form of operation is to reduce symptoms of untreatable or advanced cancers. A surgeon may seek to relieve any colon blockage, and treat discomfort, bleeding, and other symptoms.

Here, learn more about endoscopy.

Chemotherapy

A cancer-care team must prescribe medicines that conflict with the cycle of cell division during chemotherapy. They do this by preventing the damage to proteins or DNA and destroying cancer cells.

Such therapies are targeted at any rapidly dividing cells, even healthy ones. Typically these can recover from any damage caused by chemotherapy but cancer cells can not.

A cancer surgeon, or oncologist, may usually prescribe chemotherapy if it spreads to treat colon cancer. The drugs move all over the body, and the procedure will take place in stages, and the body has time to regenerate between doses.

Popular Chemotherapy side effects include:

  • hair loss
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • vomiting

Combination therapies often use different chemotherapy forms, or combine chemotherapy with other treatments.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells by focussing gamma rays of high energy on them. External radiation therapy may be used by a cancer care team which expels these rays from a machine outside the body.

With internal radiation a physician may inject radioactive materials in the form of a seed near the cancer site.

Some of the metals emit gamma rays, such as radium. The radiation can come from high-energy X-rays, too. A doctor may prescribe radiation therapy to shrink a tumor or to kill cancer cells as a stand-alone treatment. Alongside other cancer therapies, it can also be successful.

For colon cancer, cancer care teams tend not to perform radiation therapies in the later stages. They may use them if early stage rectal cancer has penetrated the wall of the rectum or spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Side effects of treatment with radiation may include:

  • mild skin changes that resemble sunburn or sun tan
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • appetite loss
  • weight loss

Most side effects will resolve or subside a few weeks after completing treatment.

Diagnosis

A physician may conduct a detailed physical evaluation and inquire about personal and family medical background.

Often, they may use the following diagnostic methods to diagnose and stage cancer:

Colonoscopy

A doctor inserts a long, flexible tube into the rectum with a camera at one end to examine the inside of the colon.

A individual may need to adopt a 24-48-hour special diet before the procedure. The colon would also need washing with strong laxatives in a cycle known as bowel prep.

If the doctor detects polyps inside the colon, the polyps will be removed by a surgeon and referred for biopsy. In a biopsy, the polyps are examined under a microscope by a pathologist to look for cancerous or precancerous cells.

A related technique, called a flexible sigmoidoscopy, permits a doctor to investigate a smaller portion of the colorectal region. This approach implies less planning. Also, if a sigmoidoscopy does not show polyps, or if they are found within a small region, a complete colonoscopy may not be necessary.

Double contrast barium enema

This X-ray technique uses a substance called the barium to produce clearer colon images than a normal X-ray. A individual must fast for several hours before he or she undergoes an X-ray barium.

A doctor injects a liquid solution through the rectum which contains the element barium into the colon. They follow this with a quick pumping of air to smooth over the layer of barium to produce the most reliable tests.

The colon and rectum X-ray is then performed by a radiologist. In the X-ray the barium appears white, and any tumors and polyps appear as dark outlines.

If a biopsy indicates colon cancer, the doctor can order an X-ray in the chest, an ultrasound, or a CT scan of the lungs, liver, and abdomen to determine the cancer spread.

Upon diagnosis, a doctor will assess the stage of cancer based on the tumor’s size and magnitude, as well as its spread to surrounding lymph nodes and distant organs.

The stage of a cancer will decide the treatment options and will advise the viewpoint.

Prevention

There is no assured solution to colon cancer prevention. Some preventive steps may include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • exercising regularly
  • consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • limiting the intake of saturated fats and red meat

People should also consider reducing their alcohol use and stopping smoking.

Screening

Symptoms can not turn up until the cancer is progressing. For this reason the American College of Physicists recommends screening for people between the ages of 50 and 75, including:

  • fecal testing once every 2 years
  • either a colonoscopy every 10 years or a sigmoidoscopy every 10 years plus fecal testing every 2 years

The appropriate regularity of the screening depends on the level of risk for an person. For advice, consult your doctor.

Causes

Cells typically follow an orderly rising, splitting, and death cycle. However, cancer grows as cells uncontrollably expand and split, and when they don’t die at the appropriate point in their life cycle.

Many forms of colon cancer stem from adenomatous polyps called non-cancerous tumours. Such form on the large intestine’s inner walls.

Cancer cells may spread through the blood and lymph systems, from malignant tumors to other parts of the body.

These cancer cells may expand and invade healthy tissue in a process called metastasis, near and throughout the body. The consequence is a more severe illness which is less treatable.

The exact causes are unclear but there are some possible risk factors for colon cancer:

Polyps

Colon cancer typically grows in the large intestine from precancerous polyps that expand.

The most common types of polyps are:

  • Adenomas: These may resemble the lining of a healthy colon but appear different under a microscope. They can become cancerous.
  • Hyperplastic polyps: Colon cancer rarely develops from hyperplastic polyps, as they are typically benign.

Any of these polyps may grow into malignant colon cancer if they are not removed during the early stages of treatment by a surgeon.

Genes

Uncontrolled growth of the cells can occur after genetic damage or DNA changes.

A individual may inherit a genetic predisposition towards colon cancer from close relatives, especially if a family member was diagnosed before the age of 60.

When more than one parent has acquired colon cancer, this risk becomes more severe.

The risk of colon cancer also rises with many hereditary disorders, including:

  • attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis
  • familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Gardner syndrome, which is a different type of FAP
  • Lynch syndrome, or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer
  • juvenile polyposis syndrome
  • Muir–Torre syndrome, which is a variant of Lynch syndrome
  • MYH associated polyposis
  • Peutz–Jeghers syndrome
  • Turcot syndrome, which is another variant of FAP

Such genetic characteristics can be achieved without the development of cancer. That is because the cancer won’t grow unless it is caused by an environmental factor.

Traits, habits, and diet

Age is a major risk factor for colon cancer. About 91 percent of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50 years. It’s becoming more common in people under the age of 50 though.

Colon cancer has a greater risk of affecting those with unhealthy diets, those with obesity and those who use tobacco.

Since the colon is part of the digestive system, nutrition and diet play a central role in its development.

Low-fibre diets can help. Individuals who consume excessive quantities of the following also have an elevated risk, according to one 2019 review:

  • saturated fats
  • red meat
  • alcohol
  • processed meat

Underlying conditions

radiation therapy
A individual who has undergone radiation therapy for other cancers may have an increased risk of colon cancer.

Some conditions and therapies have ties to increased colon cancer risk.

These include:

  • diabetes
  • having undergone radiation therapy for other cancers
  • inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • acromegaly, which is a growth hormone disorder

Outlook

Using a 5 year survival rate, the ACS estimates the probable probability of a individual surviving.

If a cancer has not spread beyond the colon or rectum, a person is 90 percent as likely as a person without cancer to survive for 5 years after diagnosis.

If the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and lymph nodes, the survival rate for 5 years will drop to 71%. The prevalence drops to 14 percent if it spreads to distant locations in the body.

Effective diagnosis and care are the most successful means of increasing a person’s outlook for colon cancer.

Q:

Where does colon cancer spread most often?

A:

In stage 4 colon cancer (and rectal cancer), the liver is the most common site of metastasis. Colorectal cancer cells may also spread to the lungs, bones, brain, or spinal cord. __Christina Chun, MPH

Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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Cancer / Oncology

What is cervical cancer screening: Who should get it?

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Cervical screening allows for the detection and treatment of cervical cancer in its early stages. To detect changes in the cells of the cervix and identify associated viruses, doctors utilise two major tests.

Cervical cancer occurs in the tiny area where the uterus meets the top of the vaginal canal at the lower end of the uterus. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in roughly 99 percent of cervical cancers, while most HPV instances do not progress to cancer. The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is having HPV.

Cervical cancer screening consists mostly on the Pap test and the HPV test.

Regular screening, according to the National Cancer Institute, lowers the risk of getting or dying from cervical cancer by 80% Trusted Source.

Because of advancements in testing and treatment, the incidence of deaths from cervical cancer in the United States is decreasing by about 2% per year.

We’ll look at how a pap test works, who should get one, and how to interpret the findings in this post.

Screening tests

cervical cancer screening

Cervical cancer screening may include HPV testing or the Pap test. At the same time, the doctor may perform a physical examination of the pelvis.

Pap smear

A healthcare expert expands the vagina using a tool they call a speculum to gain access to the cervix. They next extract a sample of cells from the cervix. They will send the cell sample to a laboratory for evaluation under a microscope.

The laboratory technicians check at the appearance of the cells. If they appear abnormal, it may be a sign that cervical cancer is in the early stages of development, known as precancer.

Early treatment can rectify these cellular alterations and prevent the emergence of cervical cancer.

HPV test

A doctor will perform the HPV test to discover the virus underlying many aberrant cellular changes that could lead to cervical cancer.

However, the HPV DNA test may identifiy numerous infections that specialists do not relate to cancer. A positive HPV test often does not guarantee that a person will go on to get cancer.

Screening criteria and recommendations

The American Cancer Society provide advice for regular cervical cancer tests in females of all ages.

21–29 years

Between these ages, a woman should receive Pap tests at 3-year intervals. HPV testing is not necessary at this point. However, a doctor may follow up a Pap test with HPV testing if results are abnormal.

In one study, 86.7 percent of people who tested positive for HPV did not acquire cancer in at least the following 10 years.

30–65 years

Doctors prescribe the following for people of these ages:

  • co-testing, or a combination of both tests, every 5 years
  • a Pap test every 3 years

The American Cancer Society warn that a combined HPV and Pap test can lead to more false positives, additional testing, and more intrusive treatments.

Over 65 years

Women who have had regular screening in the last 10 years with clean findings throughout can stop screening at this age.

However, if a test within the last 20 years has showed indicators of a dangerous precancer, screening should continue until 20 years following this precancer finding.

Women with a high risk of cervical cancer

Those who have a greater risk of cervical cancer should have more frequent testing.

This includes females with a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV or a recent organ transplant. People might also have a high risk if they received exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic type of oestrogen, before birth.

After a total hysterectomy, which involves removal of the uterus and cervix, screening is no longer necessary. However, if a doctor did the hysterectomy to treat cancer, screening should continue.

Females who have gotten an HPV vaccination should continue get tests.

A person who has current or past cervical cancer or precancer will have their own screening and treatment regimen, as well as individuals with HIV infection.

A false positive result may not only cause stress but might lead to unneeded procedures that may have long-term risks. For this reason, doctors do not advocate yearly screenings.

Interpreting results

Cervical screening test results can be normal, ambiguous, or abnormal.

Normal: There were no alterations in the cells of the cervix.

Unclear: The cells appear like they could be abnormal, and the pathologist could not discover alterations that could suggest precancer. These aberrant cells could relate to HPV, an infection, pregnancy, or life changes.

Abnormal: The lab technicians identified alterations in the cervical cells. Abnormal cells do not usually signify cancer. The doctor will typically request more tests and treatment to evaluate if the alterations are turning malignant.

In an uncertain outcome, cell alterations have occurred, but the cells are very near normal and are likely to resolve without treatment. The doctor will likely order a repeat test within 6 months.

Younger people are more susceptible to low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) that commonly heal without therapy.

Cervical erosion, which doctors sometimes refer to as an ectropion, may potentially lead to an uncertain result. Cervical erosion means that the cells of underlying glands can be visible on the surface of the cervix.

Erosions are widespread, especially among those individuals who are using the contraceptive pill, teenagers, or someone who is pregnant. Slight bleeding could also occur after sex.

Most occurrences of erosions resolve without therapy.

What to do following abnormal results

An abnormal result signifies that the pathologist discovered alterations in the person’s cervix. This result does not necessarily suggest that the individual has cervical cancer. In most cases, there is no cancer.

The aberrant alterations in the cervical cells are commonly attributable to HPV. Low-grade changes are mild whereas high-grade changes are more significant. Most low-grade alterations resolve without treatment.

It generally takes 3–7 years for “high-grade,” or severe, abnormalities to become cervical cancer.

Cells showing more serious alterations may potentially turn malignant unless a specialist eliminates them. Early intervention is crucial for treating cervical cancer.

Doctors will need to undertake more testing to confirm abnormal Pap or HPV test results.

Rarely, test results could reveal the presence of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) (CIN). This word signifies that the screening discovered precancerous cells, but not that the individual has cervical cancer.

The findings may show the following:

  • CIN 1 (mild cell changes): One-third of the thickness of the skin that covers the cervix has abnormal cells.
  • CIN 2 (moderate cell changes): Two-thirds of the thickness of the skin that covers the cervix has abnormal cells.
  • CIN 3 (severe cell changes): All the thickness of the skin that covers the cervix has abnormal cells.

A doctor will need to confirm these results by requesting a biopsy.

Test difficulties

While both routine cervical screening tests are typically reliable and useful, confusing or abnormal results may represent a problem with the examination rather than the existence of altering cells.

A person may have to repeat the test due to a “inadequate” sample, implying that their results were inconclusive.

An insufficient sample could be due to:

  • too few cells being available from the test
  • the presence of an infection that obscures the cells
  • menstruation, which can make viewing the cells hard
  • inflammation of the cervix, which may obstruct the visibility of the cells

If you want to get a cervical cancer screening, you should first take care of any infections or irritation in your cervix.

Conclusion

The Pap test and the HPV test are medically recommended tests for cervical cancer. These tests reveal either cell alterations or the presence of the HPV virus, both of which indicate a higher risk of cervical cancer.

Screening is frequently quite effective, allowing for early treatment. However, the results may be ambiguous, necessitating further testing.

Every three years, females over the age of 21 should have a Pap test.

It is possible that screening will be pricey. Many insurance, on the other hand, cover testing. This site can be used by people who don’t have access to cervical cancer screening to see if they qualify for free testing under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).

References

  • http://www.nccc-online.org/hpvcervical-cancer/cervical-cancer-overview/
  • http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Cervical-Cancer-Screening
  • https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/hp/cervical-screening-pdq#_1
  • https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/statistics/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/254577
  • https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/des-fact-sheet
  • https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/pap-tests.htm
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2697704
  • https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/test-results.htm
  • https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/test-results.htm

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Cancer / Oncology

Symptoms, causes, stages, and treatment of cervical cancer

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Cervical cancer damages the womb’s entrance. The cervix is the thin section of the lower uterus, often known as the womb’s neck.

According to the American Cancer Society, clinicians in the United States will make 13,170 new cervical cancer diagnosis by the end of 2019. Cervical cancer will claim the lives of more than 4,200 women in the United States this year.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. HPV is successfully prevented by the HPV vaccine.

The vaccination was previously recommended for all people aged 9 to 26 years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccination is now accessible for all women and men aged 26–45 who had the vaccine as a preteen, according to the CDC.

We’ll look at cervical cancer, its symptoms, and how to avoid and treat it in this post.

Early warning signs and symptoms

bleeding after sexual intercourse

A person may have no symptoms at all in the early stages of cervical cancer.

As a result, women should undertake cervical smear examinations, often known as Pap tests, on a regular basis.

A Pap test is a preventative measure. Its goal is not to identify cancer, but to reveal any cell alterations that may signify the onset of cancer so that treatment can begin sooner.

The following are the most prevalent signs of cervical cancer:

  • vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • vaginal discharge tinged with blood
  • pelvic pain
  • bleeding between periods
  • bleeding in post-menopausal women
  • discomfort during sexual intercourse

Other causes, such as infection, can cause these symptoms. Anyone who exhibits any of these symptoms should consult a physician.

Stages

Identifying a cancer’s stage is important because it allows a person to choose the most effective treatment option.

The goal of staging is to determine how far the cancer has gone and whether it has migrated to surrounding structures or further away organs.

The most frequent technique to stage cervical cancer is using a four-step system.

Stage one: There are precancerous cells present.
Stage 1: Cancer cells have spread from the surface into the cervix’s deeper tissues, as well as into the uterus and adjacent lymph nodes.
Stage 2: The cancer has spread beyond the cervix and uterus, but not to the pelvic walls or the lower section of the vaginal canal. It may or may not affect the lymph nodes in the area.

Stage 3: Cancer cells can be found in the lower section of the vaginal canal or the pelvic walls, and they can obstruct the ureters, which convey urine from the bladder. It may or may not affect the lymph nodes in the area.

Stage 4: The cancer is growing out of the pelvis and damages the bladder or rectum. The lymph nodes may or may not be affected. It will extend to distant organs, including as the liver, bones, lungs, and lymph nodes, later in stage 4.

Screening and obtaining medical attention if any symptoms arise can assist a person in receiving early treatment and increasing their chances of survival.

Causes

The uncontrolled division and development of aberrant cells causes cancer. The majority of our body’s cells have a defined lifespan, and when they die, the body regenerates new cells to replace them.

There are two issues that abnormal cells can cause:

  • they do not die
  • they continue dividing

This causes an overabundance of cells to pile up, eventually forming a lump or tumour. Why cells turn malignant is a mystery to scientists.

Some risk factors, on the other hand, may raise the risk of cervical cancer. These are some of them:

  • HPV: This is a virus that is spread by sexual contact. There are about 100 different varieties of HPV, with at least 13 of them having the potential to cause cervical cancer.
    Having a lot of sexual partners or beginning sexually active young: Cancer-causing HPV kinds are almost always transmitted through sexual contact with someone who has HPV. HPV infection is more likely in women who have had a risk of sexual partners. This raises their chances of getting cervical cancer.
  • Smoking: Cervical cancer, as well as other types of cancer, is increased as a result of this.
  • A weakened immune system: Cervical cancer is more common among people who have HIV or AIDS, as well as those who have had a transplant and are using immunosuppressive medicines.
  • Birth control pills: Long-term usage of various common contraceptive pills boosts a woman’s risk by a small amount.
  • Other sexually transmitted diseases (STD): Cervical cancer is more likely in people who have chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or syphilis.
  • Socio-economic status: In locations where income is low, rates appear to be higher.

Treatment

Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments may be used to treat cervical cancer.

The type of treatment chosen is determined by a number of criteria, including the cancer’s stage, age, and overall health.

Early-stage cervical cancer treatment, while the cancer is still contained within the cervix, has a high success rate. The lower the success percentage, the further a cancer spreads from its original location.

Early-stage options

When the cancer has not gone beyond the cervix, surgery is a typical therapeutic option. If a doctor suspects cancer cells are present inside the body after surgery, radiation therapy may be beneficial.

Radiation therapy may potentially lower the chances of a recurrence (cancer coming back). Chemotherapy may be used if the surgeon wants to shrink the tumour to make it easier to operate on, albeit this is not a frequent technique.

Advanced cervical cancer treatment

Surgery is usually not an option when the cancer has progressed beyond the cervix.

Advanced cancer is also known as invasive cancer since it has spread to other parts of the body. This form of cancer necessitates a more intensive treatment regimen, which often includes radiation therapy or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Palliative therapy is used by healthcare providers in the final stages of cancer to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is also known as radiation oncology or XRT by some clinicians.

It entails the use of high-energy X-rays or radiation beams to kill cancer cells.

When a treating doctor uses radiation to treat the pelvic area, the following adverse effects may cause, some of which may not appear until after the therapy is completed:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy
FatCamera/Getty Images

Chemotherapy is the treatment of any disease with chemicals (medicine). It refers to the killing of cancer cells in this context.

Chemotherapy is used by doctors to target cancer cells that surgery can’t or won’t eradicate, as well as to alleviate the symptoms of people with advanced cancer.

Chemotherapy has a wide range of adverse effects, which vary depending on the medicine. The following are some of the most common negative effects:

Cervical cancer clinical trials

For some people, taking part in a research study may be the greatest therapy option.

Clinical trials are an essential component of cancer research. Researchers use them to see if novel treatments are safe and effective, as well as whether they are superior than existing ones.

People who take part in clinical trials help to advance cancer research and development.

Prevention

Cervical cancer can be prevented by taking a variety of precautions.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

The association between cervical cancer and some forms of HPV is undeniable. Cervical cancer could be reduced if every female adhered to the current HPV immunisation programmes.

Cervical cancer and safe sex

Only two HPV strains are protected by the HPV vaccine. Cervical cancer can be caused by other strains. Using a condom while having sex can help prevent HPV infection.

Cervical screening

Cervical screening may help a person detect and treat signs of cancer before the condition progresses or spreads too far. Screening does not identify cancer, but it does reveal alterations in the cervix’s cells.

Having fewer sexual partners

The greater a woman’s sexual partners, the greater her risk of transmitting the HPV virus. Cervical cancer is a risk as a result of this.

Delaying first sexual intercourse

The higher the risk of HPV infection, the younger a woman is when she has her first sexual encounter. The longer she waits, the lesser her risk becomes.

Stopping smoking

Cervical cancer is more likely to develop in women who smoke and have HPV than in those who do not.

Diagnosis

Early detection of cervical cancer boosts treatment success rates.

The American College of Surgeons recommends the following screenings as part of a routine examination:

Under the age of 25: The American College of Surgeons does not suggest screening.

Between the ages of 25 and 65: For cervical cancer prevention, people should get an HPV test every five years.

Over the age of 65: Unless individuals have a high risk of cervical cancer, the ACS does not suggest screening for those who have received adequate screening in the past.

People who have had a hysterectomy with the cervix removed do not need to be screened unless they had previously had precancerous lesions or cervical cancer.

These are the general screening recommendations, although each person’s screening needs should be discussed with a doctor.

Cervical smear test

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), approximately 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2019. Around 4,000 women will die as a result of the disease. Regular screening, on the other hand, could avert the majority of these deaths.

Screening does not identify cancer; instead, it searches for abnormal changes in cervix cells. Some aberrant cells can develop into cancer if they are not treated.

HPV DNA testing

This test determines if the person has any of the HPV varieties that are most likely to cause cervical cancer. It entails taking cells from the cervix for laboratory examination.

Before any abnormalities in the cervical cells become visible, the test can detect high-risk HPV strains in cell DNA.

A doctor may offer additional tests if there are signs and symptoms of cervical cancer or if the Pap test indicates abnormal cells.

These include:

  • Colposcopy: A speculum and a colposcope, a lighted magnifying device, are used to examine the vagina.
  • Examination under anaesthesia (EUA): The doctor will be able to inspect the vaginal and cervix in greater detail.
  • Biopsy: Under general anaesthesia, the doctor removes a little piece of tissue.
  • Cone biopsy: For evaluation, the doctor removes a tiny cone-shaped portion of aberrant tissue from the cervix.
  • LLETZ: Diathermy, which involves heating a wire loop with an electric current, aids in the removal of aberrant tissue. After that, the healthcare provider sends the tissue to a lab for analysis.
  • Blood tests: A blood cell count can aid in the detection of liver or kidney issues.
  • CT scan: A barium liquid may be used by a medical expert to reveal any cellular abnormalities.
  • MRI: Cervical cancer can be detected in its early stages using some types of MRI.
  • Ultrasound of the pelvis: On a monitor, high-frequency sound waves generate an image of the target region.

Outlook

The stage at which a person is diagnosed with cervical cancer can assist determine their odds of surviving for at least another 5 years:

  • Stage 1: The chances of surviving at least 5 years are 93 percent in early stage 1 and 80 percent in late stage 1.
  • Stage 2: Early in stage 2, the rate is 63 percent, but by the conclusion of stage 2, it has dropped to 58 percent.
  • Stage 3: The possibilities drop from 35 percent to 32 percent at this point.
  • Stage 4: Cervical cancer people at stage 4 have a 15 to 16 percent probability of living another 5 years.

These are average survival rates, which do not apply to all people. Treatment can be effective up to stage 4 in some situations.

Sources:

  • http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Cervical-Cancer-Screening
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/staged.html
  • http://www.who.int/immunization/hpv/deliver/en/
  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs380/en/
  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2697704
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  • http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/detailedguide/cervical-cancer-risk-factors

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Cancer / Oncology

Chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL): What to know

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Chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL) is a type of blood cancer that causes in an overabundance of eosinophils in the body. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection, but having too many of them can be hazardous.

CEL is uncommon, but researchers do not know how common it is in the United States.

This page examines the symptoms and causes of CEL, as well as treatment options and outlook.

What is it?

blood test

CEL is an uncommon form of myeloproliferative neoplasm, which is a type of blood cancer caused by myeloid stem cells in bone marrow producing an abnormally large number of red and white blood cells and platelets.

CEL causes the body to overproduce eosinophils, a type of white blood cell. Eosinophils secrete substances to protect the body from infections or allergic reactions.

Eosinophils are high in the bone marrow, blood, and other tissues of people with CEL. This can cause to issues including organ damage.

Symptoms

People may not have symptoms in the early stages of the disease. A regular blood test can also detect CEL in people who have no symptoms.

Other people may get severe symptoms as a result of high eosinophil levels.

Among the signs of CEL are:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • anemia
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • cough
  • swelling under the skin around the eyes, lips, throat, hands, or feet
  • muscle aches or pains
  • itchiness
  • diarrhea
  • night sweats

CEL is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50, but it can also affect youngsters and the elderly. CEL is more frequent in men than in women.

Causes

The cause of CEL is unknown. There is no link, for example, between CEL and a mutation in genes or chromosomes, according to researchers. CEL may be caused by environmental factors such as smoking or exposure to radiation or certain chemicals in rare situations.

Diagnosis

In most circumstances, doctors try to rule out all other potential causes of the patient’s symptoms. If they then rule out CEL, this is referred as as a diagnosis of exclusion.

A doctor evaluates any symptoms, performs a physical examination, and may subsequently run a variety of tests, including:

  • a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration, which involves removing a small sample of bone marrow for testing
  • blood chemistry tests, which show how well organs are functioning
  • a complete blood count, which gives the amount and quality of white and red blood cells and platelets

Outlook

CEL is typically slow to progress and can persist for many years.

However, a person’s condition can quickly deteriorate if CEL progresses to acute myelogenous leukemia.

A 2020 study of CEL patients in the United States discovered a median survival period of 2 years following diagnosis. CEL progressed to acute myelogenous leukemia in many of these patients.

Researchers behind a different 2020 study discovered that the outlook for CEL varies, and they called for greater research on the subject.

Other studies indicated that people who got stem cell transplantation as a treatment had survival rates ranging from 8 months to 5 years. Despite the fact that this strategy can be effective, clinicians do not typically accept it as a credible treatment for CEL.

Treatment

The appropriate approach for each person with CEL may differ.

Corticosteroids and interferon alfa (Intron A, Wellferon), for example, may be used to treat the disease. Doctors may also administer chemotherapeutic drugs such as:

  • hydroxyurea (Hydrea), possibly in combination with steroids
  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox)
  • vincristine (Oncovin)

A doctor may advise you to use targeted chemotherapy medications, which target certain genes or parts of leukemia cells.

In addition, treatment with the medication imatinib (Glivec) may result in long-term remission in some people with CEL. This medication prevents the formation of excessive eosinophils.

People with aggressive CEL may benefit from stem cell transplants if stem cells from a donor with similar genes are available.

Follow-up treatment

A doctor may offer further approaches to relieve CEL symptoms, such as:

  • Leukapheresis: An electrophoresis machine is used to separate out extra white blood cells from the blood, lowering the number of eosinophils.
  • Blood-thinning medication: CEL can cause blood clots, and these medications can help avoid them.
  • Splenectomy: High eosinophil levels can cause the spleen to expand, resulting in significant abdominal pain. In this instance, a doctor may advise removing the spleen by surgery.
  • Cardiac surgery: If a person has heart disease, surgery to remove scarring of the heart muscle or replace heart valves may assist improve heart function and extend life.

Hypereosinophilic syndrome vs. CEL

Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a group of blood diseases characterized by elevated amounts of eosinophils. CEL is a type of HES.

An overabundance of eosinophils can cause problems in a variety of places of the body, most notably the:

In many situations, the cause of HES is unknown. It may be caused by an increase in the synthesis of a specific protein in some white blood cells. A person has lymphocytic HES in this case.

An hereditary genetic mutation can also cause the illness. A person in this situation has familial HES.

The high quantity of eosinophils in someone with CEL is caused by alterations in the bone marrow. CEL is a form of HES that is myeloproliferative.

HES symptoms may include:

  • problems with the nervous system, such as vertigo or tingling sensations
  • heart problems
  • anemia
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • skin rashes or swelling
  • breathing difficulties
  • stomach pain or upset
  • muscle and joint pain

Certain medications, such as imatinib mesylate (Glivec) and mepolizumab, may aid in the treatment of HES (Nucala).

Conclusion

CEL is a form of blood cancer that is extremely rare. It causes the body to overproduce eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.

Medication, such as chemotherapy, and other approaches, such as stem cell transplants or surgery, may be used in treatment.

Many people’s CEL develops slowly, and treatment may result in long-term remission.

Sources:

  • https://seer.cancer.gov/seertools/hemelymph/51f6cf58e3e27c3994bd53fc/
  • https://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/hp/chronic-treatment-pdq
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajh.23664
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-chronic-eosinophilic-leukemia
  • https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/2804/hypereosinophilic-syndrome
  • https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/drugs/imatinib
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323085939000760
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajh.25906

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