Protected From Cervical Cancer

January 10th, 2009 admin Women's Health 0

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus, which opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer is the second-most-common type of cancer that strikes women worldwide after breast cancer.

It is estimated that nearly 250,000 deaths are associated with cervical cancer globally every year. According to the World Health Organisation, there were 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer in 2005.

The tragedy of cervical cancer is that it often strikes when a woman is still young. It tends to happen in women between the age of 35 and 55 years. She may be trying to raise her family or may be she has not had children yet.

A population-based survey reported that the coverage of cervical cancer screening in Bangladesh is less than 1%. Older and poor women are at the highest risk of developing cervical cancer in Bangladesh.

Cause of cervical cancer
99% of cervical cancers are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which spreads through sexual contact. There are over 100 different types of HPV. The majorities of viruses are considered Low Risk and do not cause cervical cancer. However, HPV-16 and HPV-18 often referred to as High Risk HPV types are associated with more than 70% of cervical cancer cases.

The body’s immune system usually fights off the infection as a result most women never suffer from HPV infection. However, in some women the infection does not go away. When the virus remains active in the body for a long period of time, cervical cells begin to change and the risk of cervical cancer increases.

There are other factors can increase the risk that an HPV infection develops into cervical cancer:

* Sexual intercourse at an early age

* Multiple sexual partners

* Multiple full-term pregnancies

* Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, or herpes simplex virus type 2 infection

* Cigarette smoking

* Use of oral contraceptives for a long period of time

* Weakened immune system or HIV infection • Mother or sister with a history of cervical cancer

* Low levels of folic acid (a type of Vitamin B)

Symptoms
Cervical cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer, typically takes 10-15 years before invasive cancer develops. Once cervical cells begin to change, it first becomes “pre-cancerous” a condition also known as “dysplasia” or Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN).

In the early stages cervical cancer often causes no symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

* Bleeding between regular menstrual periods

* Bleeding after sexual intercourse

* Bleeding after douching

* Bleeding after a pelvic exam

* Pelvic pain not related to your menstrual cycle

* Heavy or unusual discharge that may be watery, thick, and possibly have a foul odor

* Increased urinary frequency

* Pain during urination

These symptoms can be caused by cervical cancer, or by a number of serious conditions, and should be evaluated promptly by a medical professional.

Diagnosis
Cervical cancer is diagnosed through a series of examinations. A Pap test is most commonly used to screen and detect the possibility of a cervical cancer or dysplasia.

An HPV DNA test is used to determine the high-risk strains of HPV infection, which is most likely to lead to cervical cancer. If an abnormality is found during a Pap and HPV DNA tests, a Colposcopy is performed.

Finally, a Cone biopsy is performed by removing a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix for microscopic examination. A pathologist examines the sample for confirmation of precancer or cancer cells.

Treatment
Options for treating cervical cancer depend predominantly on the stage of disease — the size of the tumor, the depth of invasion, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Other factors that are considered are the patient’s age and if she wishes to have children. The primary forms of treatment are surgery or combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

* Surgery to remove the uterus

* Radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells

* Chemotherapy to stop the growth of cancer cells

Vaccine
The vaccine is now available for prevention of HPV infection. Studies show that women who receive cervical cancer vaccine between the ages of 15 and 25 have 100% protection against the HPV-16 and HPV-18.

The vaccine is given in three shots over six-months. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended this vaccine for girl’s ages 11 to 12, although it may be used in girls as young as age 9.

Ideally, females should get the vaccine before they are sexually active. The vaccine is also recommended for 13-26 year-old girls who have not yet received or completed the vaccine series. This allows a girls immune system to be activated before she encounters HPV. Vaccinating at this age also allows developing the highest antibody levels. The higher the antibody levels the greater the protection.

Abu Siddiqui…

Blood Tests May Show Inherited Diseases in Fetuses

November 26th, 2008 admin Diabetes 1 Comment

Doctors may soon be able to diagnose inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis, thalassaemia and sickle cell anemia in fetuses by simply testing a blood sample taken from the mother.

Until now, prenatal diagnoses of such disorders have been possible only through invasive procedures like amniocentesis, which carry a risk of fetal miscarriage.

Amniocentesis is the extraction of a small amount of fluid from the sac surrounding a developing fetus.

But scientists in Hong Kong and Thailand may have found a way to diagnose in fetuses such “monogenic” diseases, which are caused by a single error in a single gene in the human DNA.

This is only possible because fetal DNA circulates in maternal blood, a discovery Lo and his colleagues made several years ago.

Many scientists have since been trying to find the best way to differentiate fetal DNA from maternal DNA, before they can even get down to looking for any anomalies in the fetal DNA. But these efforts have not met with much success.

In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lo and his colleagues said they had devised a counting system that could “bring non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of monogenic diseases closer to reality.”

Using highly precise digital blood testing technology, both mutant and normal DNA sequences are counted in maternal plasma and that is then used to calculate the number of mutant genes inherited by the fetus and to determine the probability of the fetus developing any monogenic disease.

Lo, however, noted that the accuracy of this method would depend on the concentration of fetal DNA in maternal blood.

Thalassaemia is a blood related genetic disease that can result in reduced fertility or even infertility. Early treatment can improve the quality of life of patients.

Cystic fibrosis affects the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems and can lead to fatal lung infections.