Cervical cancer is among the most widespread forms of cancer that affect women. However, over the years, the incidences of cervical cancer have declined significantly since an increasing number of women started receiving the annual Pap smears. The procedure called annual Pap smears involves taking cells from the surface of the cervix and examining them to determine whether there is any irregularity. In effect, Pap smears are extremely crucial as the initial stages of this form of cancer generally do not show any symptoms.
It may be noted that this form of cancer has distinct stages in the precancerous period. It generally starts in the form of cervical dysplasia - the emergence of uncharacteristic cells on the surface of the cervix. In addition, several cervical dysplasias appear owing to the infection with specific strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) - a virus that is transmitted through sexual activities and which is responsible for the development of genital warts. It has been found that women having numerous sexual partners as well as those who begin sexual activities at a very early age are most susceptible to cervical cancer. However, women who have been in a monogamous relationship throughout their life are also likely to develop this form of cancer. It is surprising to note that the rate of cervical cancer is very high among the Native American women, but the reason behind this is yet to be ascertained.
Using birth control or contraceptive pills is one more risk factor for the pace of development of cervical dysplasia into cancer. It may be noted that oral contraceptives enclose progesterone and different measures of estrogen. These two hormones are responsible for facilitating HPV to result in cancer as well as to poison gene p53, the gene that commonly makes certain that cells that are genetically defective or carcinogenic do not multiply. Estrogen may perhaps be responsible for starting cancers related to HPV, but this hormone does not encourage the growth of the carcinogenic cells when they have been established. Nevertheless, in such instances, lessening the level of estrogen enables gene p53 to maintain pace with the growth of the cancer cells.
A number of additional aspects that are said to be related to the development of cervical cancer comprise a history of having sexually transmitted disease (STD), smoking, infertility, having the first sexual intercourse prior to attaining 18 years of age, dietary deficits and also having over five complete pregnancies.
When the cervical cancer has developed as well as spread sufficiently to give rise to symptoms, this disease may possibly result in anomalous vaginal bleeding, pain in the pelvic or lumbar region, awfully smelling vaginal discharges, and even excruciating menstrual periods. Conditional on the extent of the spread of cervical cancer, this disease is categorized into five stages from 0 to IV. In addition, the degree of spread of this deadly disease also decides on the type of surgical procedure that ought to be used to treat the condition. Such modus operandi varies from removing only a portion of the cervix to removing the complete uterus as well as the structures supporting it. In addition, there may also be a need to get rid of the lymph nodes in the groin. In addition to surgery, your physician may also use chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, generally the physicians avoid the radiation therapy in younger women, as this method of treatment has the potential to harm the ovaries and trigger menopause. There are times when physicians try to merge chemotherapy and radiation therapy - a method that normally does not help to ease the symptoms or increase the life of the patient. In such instances, there is another alternative mode of treatment - immunotherapy.
It is important to note that while you may be undergoing any conventional treatment for cervical cancer, at the same time, you ought to use herbal medications as a part of your overall medical program for this disease. Herbal medications have the aptitude to make chemotherapy or radiation therapy more tolerable as well as effectual. In addition, they also augment the possibility of lessening the symptoms of the disease.
Supplements and herbs
A number of specific herbs and dietary supplements are useful in treating as well as preventing cervical cancer. For instance taking the juice of aloe vera in doses of 1/3 cup (80 ml) thrice every day helps to prevent the liver from processing particular toxic substances into cancerous forms. However, it is advisable that women suffering from diarrhea should keep away from aloe vera juice. Similarly, taking astragalus capsules in dosages of 500 mg to 1,000 mg thrice every day helps to augment the production of IL-2, a chemical related to the immune system that combats HPV and, at the same time sets off gene p53. However, in case you are suffering from any type of fever or skin contagion, you should not take astragalus.
Consumption of green tea catechin extract in dosages of 240 mg thrice every day aids in neutralizing plasmin - a substance that is responsible for creating conduits for the tumours of blood vessels. Similarly, lentinan intramuscular injection administered by your healthcare provider sets off the cells of the immune system, such as NK (natural killer) cells and LAK cells, to combat cancer. Taking polysaccharide kureha (PSK) tablets in dosage of 2,000 mg thrice every day is also useful in preventing the cancer from spreading. At the same time, it augments the efficiency of radiation therapy.
Women who have developed cervical cancer and are undergoing radiation therapy will greatly benefit if they take about six to 12 tablets of snow fungus or yin mi pian every day during the course of their treatment. Taking these tablets helps to expose the carcinogenic cells to radiation therapy. In addition, turmeric curcumin tablets are also effective while undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. Take these tablets in dosages of 250 mg to 500 mg twice every day between the meals. These tablets help in setting off gene p53.
Additional things you may do
In addition to using conventional therapies, herbal products and dietary supplements, you may do few other things to combat as well as prevent cervical cancer. Women who have developed this form of cancer ought to eat increasing amounts of vegetables, especially those whose color is dark green or yellow, and consume fruit juices, as they enclose antioxidants. The results of a study spanning over four years and involving as many as 2,189 women suffering from cervical cancer revealed that the patients who consumed the above mentioned foods and fruit juices quite often had less chances of developing this form of cancer. Natural chemical compounds present in these types of vegetables are akin to vitamin A, which are effective in neutralizing one of the genes of HPV that is responsible for the development of cancer. However, it must be noted that consuming these foods is most useful in the very initial stages of this deadly disease.
In addition, you need to reinforce your diet by including glutamine and vitamin E. It has been seen that women who have been taking anything between 200 to 400 IU (international units) of vitamin E every day face three times lesser risk of developing invasive cancer compared to those who do not take this vitamin. In fact, it has been found that women suffering from cervical cancer had very poor levels of vitamin E in every stage of the development of the disease, which means the lower the tissue amounts of vitamin E, the worse is the condition of the cancer. In the same way, scientists have also discovered that as the cancer advanced, the level of amino acid glutathione gradually became lower, while the level of the enzyme that destroys it increased. It is worth mentioning here that glutamine is a vital building block of antioxidants when it is taken in dosages of 250 mg daily, particularly in combination with 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily.
Women enduring cervical cancer may also take thymic factor supplements with a view to invigorate the immune system in combating the disease. Nevertheless, it is advisable that if you are undergoing chemotherapy, you should not take any thymic factor in conjunction with cisplantin (Platinol) or doxorubicin (Adriamycin), as the ultimate result of using thymus supplements along with the above mentioned medicines is fewer compared to solely of either thymus supplements or chemotherapy.
Women who smoke, ought to give up smoking tobacco and also keep away from secondary cigarette smoke, which encloses NNK, which is actually 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1- butanone. NKK has the aptitude to obstruct the functioning of the immune system, lessen its competence to restrain the activities of HPV as well as significantly augment the perils of developing cervical cancer.
It may be noted that an anomalous Pap smear does not essentially denote that a woman has developed cervical cancer. In fact, every year, about 2 million women in the United States are diagnosed for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS). Of the total women diagnosed, just 5 to 10 per cent actually suffer from cervical cancer, while majority of the women who have this disease test positive for HPV too. However, it is fortunate enough that currently a further sensitive test for HPV infection is available. This test, called the Hybrid Capture II test, is able to detect as high as 90 to 95 per cent incidences of HPV infection, in comparison to 75 to 80 per cent detected by the Pap smear. This examination is particularly useful when the outcome of a Pap smear is questionable.
Since long, healthcare professionals are aware of the fact that the lesions that appear during the cancerous or pre-cancerous stage of the cervix change to white when they come in contact with vinegar. In majority of the incidences, such a change is generally noticeable to the physician or even a qualified nurse or midwife.
In case a young woman develops cervical cancer, it should essentially be treated by means of surgery - it is important to note that a latest surgical method has the aptitude to protect the woman's fertility. This new surgical procedure is known as trachelectomy and it helps to eliminate the cervix, while protecting the uterus. Significantly, of the 26 women who underwent this new surgical procedure first, barring one, none other experienced the return of the cervical cancer.
Women taking oral contraceptives and enduring cervical dysplasia are comparatively less prone to develop the more severe dysplasia or cancer provided they take supplements containing folic acid on a regular basis. According to findings of a study conducted on such women, approximately 16 per cent of the women who did not take folic acid supplements developed more severe cases of dysplasia following four months. In comparison, not a single woman who took folic acid in doses of 10 mg every day experienced any deterioration in their condition.
Other beneficial herbs