Cervical cancer, also known as cancer of the cervix, refers to the abnormal growth of cells on the lining of the cervix.
Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are two main types of cervical cancer. Almost 80–90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, while 10–20% are known to be adenocarcinomas.
The cervix is the muscular, cylinder-shaped organ located on the lower part of the uterus that connects the vagina and uterus. This is made up of fibromuscular tissue, which allows the passage of fluid between the vagina and the uterus.
Cervical cancer in Singapore is considered the 10th most common cancer affecting women. Annually, 200 Singaporean women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. That is why some doctors are recommending women get regular cervical cancer screening in Singapore in order to check for early signs of the condition, and if present or suspected, receive treatment as early as possible.
Some of the most common cervical cancer symptoms and signs are vaginal bleeding after intercourse or between periods, heavier and longer periods, pelvic and lower back pain, and pain during intercourse.
People who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are mostly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection. This infection usually spreads via oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse.
Cervical cancer is diagnosed through Pap smears and HPV tests. The HPV test checks for the presence of HPV, which could cause the cells in the uterus to change; while a Pap smear checks for abnormal cell changes or precancers present on the cervix that might lead to cervical cancer if not treated promptly.
There are several ways of treating cervical cancer, depending on the stage of cervical cancer and how far it has already spread. Treatments can include colposcopy, surgery, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
People who are at risk of developing cervical cancer include:
Despite the prevalence of cervical cancer, it is actually one of the most preventable forms of cancer. With the widespread availability of the HPV vaccine (which protects against the most common strains of HPV) and increasing awareness of the importance of regular Pap smears, the chances of developing cervical cancer is greatly reduced.
Cervical cancer doctors recommend all eligible patients to receive the cervical cancer vaccine, which protects against the most common strains of HPV causing cervical cancer. In Singapore, cervical cancer vaccines include Gardasil 9, Gardasil 4, and Cervarix; of which, Gardasil 9 is the most comprehensive one.
Women in Singapore who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or are at risk of it, should visit a cervical cancer clinic in Singapore. At SC Quek Gynaecology, we offer a complete range of services dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer. Call 6479 9555 for more details.
To that end, he serves on the board of the International Federation of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology, and his extensive research and humanitarian work centre around HPV and cervical cancer as well.