Cervix is a part of the female reproductive system that extends from the lower end of the uterus to the upper vagina. Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The main cause of cervical cancer is a long term infection with various strains of Human papillomavirus (HPV). Whenever there is an attack by the HPV, the immune system prevents the virus from causing any infection. However, in a small group of women, this virus can survive in the body for many years causing some of the cells of the cervix to become cancerous. As per studies, there are over 100 types of Human papillomavirus but only a few certain strains are linked to cancer.
The cervix is made up of two types of cells.
- Squamous cells that line the cells of outer cervix
- Glandular cells form the inner lining of the cervix
Most of the cervical pre-cancer cells begin to grow on the point known as the transition point at which the above two cells meet. Cervical cancers arising from squamous cells are called squamous cell carcinomas and the remaining that arise from glandular cells are called adenocarcinomas.
There are no early signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. Some of the symptoms in the advanced stages are as follows:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal bleeding after sex, between the periods and after menopause
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Heavy and longer menstrual bleeding
- Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
The trigger for the cervical cancer is when a mutation in the genetic code of cervical cells causes them to multiply beyond control and form a mass of cells called tumour.
There can be many risk factors for developing cervical cancer like:
- Suppressed immune system
- HIV infection
- Smoking and tobacco intake
- Genetics/ family history of cervical cancer
- Excessive and long term use of oral contraceptives
- Full term pregnancy before the age of 17 and having three or more full term pregnancies.
- Chlamydia infection
- Environmental or lifestyle choices
- Multiple sexual partners
There are five stages of cervical cancer depending on how much it has spread to the different parts.
- Stage 0- In this stage, the cancer cells are only on the surface of the cervix and is referred to as carcinoma in situ.
- Stage 1- a small sized tumour that has not spread to lymph nodes.
- Stage 2- When the cancer has spread beyond the cervix and uterus but not the lower part of the vagina.
- Stage 3- this is the stage in which the cancer has spread to the lower part of the vagina and may block the uterus.
- Stage 4- the last and most advanced stage in which cancer has spread to the bladder or rectum or any other part of the body.
The screening and diagnosis for cervical cancer is done by Pap smear. If the cancer is detected, then other tests like X-ray, CT scan or MRI are done to see the extent to which the tumour has spread.
The course of treatment involves radiation therapy, surgical removal of cancers or chemotherapy. Vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer are available and are most effective when given to girls before they attain puberty.
Bagdara Farms has a product called Cervikil which helps in preventing cervical cancer. It is a non- GMO, curcumin-based product also enriched with turmerone.
Curcumin and turmerone are known for their benefits in curbing the symptoms of cervical cancer by the following ways:
- Curcumin is very well-known for its antimicrobial action which helps fight the infection by Human papillomavirus.
- Cyclooxygenase- 2 is an enzyme which plays an important role in pain and inflammation. Curcumin being an anti-inflammatory agent brings down inflammation levels thus preventing the proliferation of cancer cells.
- If curcumin is given to patients during the preliminary stages of cervical cancer, it can prevent its occurrence altogether.
- As a potent chemopreventive agent, curcumin stops the activity of cancer-causing proteins very effectively.
- Estradiol is a hormone which is required for the spread of cervical cancer. Curcumin and turmerone are very effective in counteracting this hormone. They also improve the sensitivity of cervical cancer to therapeutic drugs.