PAP SMEAR AND CERVICAL CANCER AFTER MENOPAUSE
Something that may easily be overlooked is symptoms of cervical cancer after menopause. Symptoms of cervical cancer after menopause are mostly non-existent. Therefore it is imperative to keep up routine screening. Just because the monthly menstrual cycle has stopped due to menopause does not mean a woman cannot get cervical cancer.
One of the symptoms of cervical cancer after menopause correlates to signs of menopause:
a change in bleeding cycle.
During the early years of menopause, known as peri-menopause, periods become irregular, sometimes heavier, sometimes lighter, and eventually, they stop altogether. However, while most women assume this abnormal or unusual bleeding is a normal part of menopause, which it can be, it could also be a sign of trouble. Therefore, any symptoms should be checked with a health care practitioner.
Other symptoms include:
- ” pelvic pain,
- ” increased vaginal discharge
- ” bleeding after intercourse
- ” pain during sex
Many women are not sexually active during menopause and so half the symptoms that may alert them to symptoms of cervical cancer during menopause would not be recognized.
Other women are too embarrassed to speak of pelvic pain or discharge at the age after menopause. Because cervical cancer after menopause are uncommon, we see an increasing number of women battling this disease.
When women experience symptoms after menopause, their doctor will likely do laboratory tests to check for abnormal cells and declare exactly whether she is suffering from cervical cancer or not. In most cases, a small sample of cells is taken from the surface of the cervix in what is called a pap smear.
- Pap smears are recommended for women who are going through menopause with or without symptoms of cervical cancer every three to five years.
- Pap smears test cells from the tissue cervix. The cervix is located at the lower, narrow end of the uterus. It opens into the vagina. The cervix is covered by a thin layer of cells. As with all cells, the cells that make up the cervix grow all of the time. During this growth, the cells at the bottom layer slowly move to the surface of the cervix. When these cells reach the surface, they are shed. During this process, some cells can become abnormal.
- The goal of the Pap smear is to detect abnormal cervical cells very early, prior to the development of any symptoms or cancer.
- The Pap smear of the women who are in menopause can detect abnormal changes or early stages of symptoms of cervical cancer after menopause.
If the pap smear is abnormal the next most appropriate step will be determined by the specific abnormality found. Frequently if abnormal cells are found during the pap smear a colposcopy will be the next examination for the female exhibiting symptoms of cervical cancer after menopause.
COLPOSCOPY : HOW DOES THIS HELP TO DETECT CERVICAL CANCER AFTER MENOPAUSE?:
Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a magnifying device called a colposcope. The colposcope shines light onto the vagina and cervix his allows the physician to see problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The colposcopy is done like a pap smear.