Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer occurs when a woman experiences an uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix (the lower portion of the uterus). Symptoms include vaginal bleeding and discharge and pelvic pain. There are several different treatment options, including chemotherapy and radiation, and 70 percent of infected women are cured of the cancer after treatment.

Nearly all cases are the result of an infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a group of sexually transmitted viruses. However, not all cases of HPV lead to cervical cancer. Some strains of the virus manifest into warts, while others will lay dormant and result in no symptoms. (Some strains can also lead to penile cancer in men). Gardasil is a new FDA-approved vaccine that protects against many strains of HPV. At the present time, it is only approved for women aged nine to twenty-six.

Cervical dysplasia manifests prior to the cancer’s development. During this early stage, the cells begin to undergo the changes that will result in the malignant cells. This is the best time to catch the problem, which can be discovered during a Pap smear or colposcopy (examination of the cervix and vagina). The treatments available for cervical dysplasia – of which there are several methods – can often cure the disease, and many times it even resolves on its own. However, there is a 20-percent recurrence rate, so checkups are advised. Because the frequency of these examinations is decided on a case-by-case basis, this should be determined with the help of a healthcare provider.

Supplements to prevent and treat cervical dysplasia

• Alpha-lipoic acid
• B-complex vitamins
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C)
• Quercetin
• Rutin
• Selenium
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
• Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Zinc

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