Cervical cancer is the 10th most common female cancer in Singapore, but it is much more common in many other parts of the world, particularly in Asia. Practically all cases are caused by HPV infection and tends to be diagnosed at a late stage when a woman may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, a bloody/watery vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or feel a mass below.
Changes on the cervix may begin many years before cancer develops. These precancer changes can be easily detected by a combination of HPV testing and/or pap smear. Any abnormalities detected are confirmed by colposcopy (see above).
These early changes are called Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) or Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (SIL). Both these terms are used interchangeably and regarded as pre-cancer cells. Precancer changes are easily and usually completely treated by either LEEP or laser treatment. These simple operations are carried out under local anaesthesia in the clinic as a day surgery procedure. No overnight hospitalization is required.