Cancer of the cervix – the neck of the womb – is one of the most common cancers aﬀecting women throughout the world. In some areas its incidence is increasing. This cancer has clearly identiﬁable precancerous stages with abnormal changes occurring in the cells on the surface of the cervix: these changes can be detected by a CERVICAL SMEAR test. Early cancer can be cured by diathermy, laser treatment, electrocoagulation or cryosurgery. If the disease has spread into the body of the cervix or beyond, more extensive surgery and possibly radiotherapy may be needed. The cure rate is 95 per cent if treated in the early stages but may fall as low as 10 per cent in some severe cases. Around 3,000 patients are diagnosed as having cervical cancer every year in the United Kingdom, and around 1,500 die from it. Latest ﬁgures in England show that the incidence rates have fallen to under 11 per 100,000 women, while death rates fell by more than 40 per cent during the 1990s. The sexual behaviour of a woman and her male partners inﬂuences the chances of getting this cancer; the earlier a woman has sexual intercourse, and the more partners she has, the greater is the risk of developing the disease.
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary