If identified early, the condition is 95% curable
Over 500 000 women all over the world are diagnosed early with cervical cancer and 250 000 of them lose the battle because of this illness. For our country, this subject is a delicate one since we are top of the list in Europe both regarding the number of cases, as well as deaths. Responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases is the infection with strains 16 and 18 of the HPV virus, extremely spread. The infection is sexualy transmitted and most of the infection cases occur immediately after the beginning of sexual life.
“In early stages, cervical cancer is curable up to 95%. In more advanced cases, the percent decreases to 30. The success of therapies is not dictated by age, but by the stage of diagnosing the disease: if identified early, the illness can be cured at 20, as well as 45 years old”, says dr. Osman Temizkan, gynaecologist at Altunizade, the newest hospital within ACIBADEM group.
Th disease becomes apparent especially between 35 and 55 years old, and the women who neglect the gynaecologic examination and don’t identify the HPV infection in time are the most vulnerable. Moreover, the risk of disease increases in persons who begin their sexual life before 20, have multiple sexual partners, don’t use protection, have deficiencies of vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid, persons who smoke or have first degree relatives suffering from cervical cancer. A simple and very accessible test can emphasize the modifications that precede cervical cancer.
“Sexually active women aged over 21 must undergo the Babeș-Papanicolau test (Pap test) once every 3 years up until 30. If there are suspected cancer signs, then we recommend HPV strains testing. After 30 years old, we recommend the Pap test together with HPV testing, once every 5 years, until the age of 65, even when there are no cancer concerns”, affirms the ACIBADEM expert.
The HPV testing, together with the Pap test, increases the chances of early identification of pre-cancerous modifications, according to the results of a vast study conducted by American and British doctors on a group of 450 0000 women. Moreover, doctors advise women to visit their specialist for any abnormal secretion of bleeding, discomfort during sex or back pain, since these can be signs of cancer.
“If the Pap test suggests the presence of a malign transformation, a biopsy is necessary. It can be done during colonoscopy which offers a good microscopic visualization of the affected area. With the help of this method, we can harvest cells from several potentially affected areas with a minimum discomfort for patients. Then the analysis of samples easily allows us to identify the malignant cells, the type of cancer, the disease stage and how much it has spread”, explains dr. Osman Temizkan.
Experts say that the life expectancy is a very good one only if patients are identified with an early stage of the disease. In the early stages, multidisciplinary teams of experimented doctors can keep intact both the sexual function, as well as the woman’s capacity of naturally obtaining a pregnancy and to keep it to term in good conditions.
“If we talk about cervical cancer identified in early stages, advanced procedures such as laparoscopy or robotic surgery, performed at ACIBADEM, do not influence at all the patient’s sex life. That’s because our successful methods protect the nerves of the genital area. Experienced surgeons’ teams will be able to remove the affected tissue, by protecting the healthy one, therefore not influencing the functions of the genital and urinary systems. In advanced stages of the disease, when surgery is completed by radio therapy, the sexual life, the reproductive capacity and the urinary function can be affected because of the repeated sessions of radiation exposure”, added the ACIBADEM expert.
Recovery after such an intervention is shorter, and the patient can go home after two days. If the patient needs radio therapy or chemotherapy, these procedures can be applied 15 days after surgery. As for the monitoring of the cases, the patients come back for checking after 3 months.
Currently, the anti HPV vaccine can prevent 90% of cervical cancer cases since the advanced formula offer protection against dangerous virus strains. It is highly efficient in young persons with ages between 9 and 26, if they have never been in contact with the virus.
Acibadem Hospitals Group is the most appreciated provider of private medical services in Turkey since 1991 and is part the international network International Healthcare Holdings, the second medical services chain in the world. Acibadem operates 17 general hospital with full service and 13 clinics. Acibadem provides comprehensive services of diagnosis and treatment by collaborating with the best professionals in medical area, using latest generation medical technology and functioning at licensed medical standards at excellency level. Thousands of Romanians check yearly into the Acibadem hospitals, especially in the oncology, cardiology, fertility, sports medicine and transplant centers.