Category Archive General Health

Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix.

The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the womb (uterus).

It’s part of the reproductive system and is sometimes called the neck of the womb.

Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

It can often be prevented by attending cervical screening, which aims to find and treat changes to cells before they turn into cancer.

Cervical cancer usually grows very slowly. How serious it is depends on how big it is, if it has spread and your general health.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • vaginal bleeding that’s unusual for you – including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, or having heavier periods than usual
  • changes to your vaginal discharge
  • pain during sex
  • pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy

If you have another condition like fibroids or endometriosis, you may get symptoms like these regularly.

You might find you get used to them. But it’s important to be checked by a GP if your symptoms change, get worse, or do not feel normal for you.

How to detect Cervical Cancer

If you have abnormal cells in your cervix, which could mean you have cervical cancer, you’ll usually be referred for a test to have a closer look at your cervix. This is called a colposcopy.

You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down, behind a screen. You’ll be given a sheet to put over you.

During a colposcopy:

  1. The specialist nurse or doctor will ask you to lie back on a bed, usually with your legs bent, feet together and knees apart.
  2. They’ll gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) into your vagina so they can see your cervix. A small amount of lubricant may be used.
  3. A microscope with a light at the end is used to look at your cervix. The microscope stays outside your body.
  4. The nurse or doctor will usually put a liquid on your cervix to show any abnormal areas.
  5. A small sample of cells (biopsy) may be collected to send to a laboratory.

The test should take around 15 to 30 minutes.

It should not be painful, but you may find it uncomfortable. Talk to the nurse or doctor if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

If you had a biopsy, you may have a small amount of bleeding or cramping afterwards.

The SCS (Canarian Health Service) is screening females of between 25 and 65 years of age.

Incidence and mortality of cervical cancer

The incidence of cervical cancer is the number of new cases of cervical cancer that are diagnosed in a certain period (usually annually) in a specific population.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women after breast cancer in the world (with an incidence of 604,127 new cases in 2020) and the fourth of all cancers. That same year, a total of 341,831 women died from this tumor worldwide.

There is a great difference in incidence and mortality between more and less developed countries: while in the latter it is the second most frequent tumor, after breast cancer, in developed countries its frequency has drastically decreased in recent decades.

In many third world countries, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among women, even ahead of breast cancer.

Cervical cancer in Spain

In Spain in the year 2020, 1,957 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed, which represents approximately 3% of female tumors, placing it in 14th position in incidence, behind breast, colorectal, lung, stomach, and body tumours. uterus, ovary, melanoma, thyroid and hematological.

The incidence in Spain can be considered very low (world adjusted rate in 2020: 5.4 new cases/100,000 inhabitants/year), with a very significant decrease since the 1960s, although it is currently stabilized.

In 2020, there were 814 deaths from this tumor (world adjusted rate in 2020: 1.6 deaths/100,000 inhabitants/year).

Age and frequency of cervical cancer

The median age at diagnosis is 48 years, although approximately 47% of women with invasive cervical carcinoma are diagnosed before the age of 35. Only 10% of diagnoses are made in women older than 65 years. Although it is a tumor typical of the middle ages of life, there is a significant number of cases from the age of 30.

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Image by Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay

Check Your Balls

Coloured Balls

What is Testicular Cancer?

Cancer of the testicle is 1 of the less common cancers, and tends to mostly affect men between 15 and 49 years of age.

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in 1 of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

It’s important to be aware of what feels normal for you. Get to know your body and see a GP if you notice any changes.

How to Check for Testicular Cancer

Have a warm shower or bath – then your ball sack will be more relaxed, and abnormalities will be easier to detect. 

First, roll your testicles between your thumb and forefinger. Check for any hard, non-sensitive lumps. Doing this examination should not cause you any pain. Don’t worry if one testicle is bigger than the other, this isn’t unusual.

Feel around the top and the back of your balls to find the epididymis , which is the tube behind your balls that collects and carries sperm. This is more sensitive than the rest of your scrotum. Once you’re familiar with this part of your scrotum, you won’t mistake it for a lump. Examine the vas (the sperm-carrying tube that extends from the epididymis) of each testicle. Cancerous lumps are generally found on the sides of your balls, but may also appear on the front. Lumps on the epididymis are not cancerous.

Checking for Testicular Cancer

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in 1 of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.

Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum are not in the testicle and are not a sign of cancer, but they should never be ignored.

Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:

  • an increase in the firmness of a testicle
  • a difference in appearance between 1 testicle and the other
  • a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum

How common is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men.

Around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK.

Testicular cancer is unusual compared with other cancers because it tends to affect younger men.

Although it’s relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.

For reasons that are unclear, white men have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups.

The number of cases of testicular cancer diagnosed each year in the UK has roughly doubled since the mid-1970s. Again, the reasons for this are unclear.

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash