Spreading Ways of the Cervical Cancer
In order to understand how the cervical cancer spreads, first of all, we need to talk about the “alternative” circulation system we call “Lymphatic System”.
Lymphatic system is one of the important components of our immune system, however its primary function is to collect 3 liters of lymphatic liquid that is transferred from the capillaries to the tissues and that cannot return to the venous system and return it back to circulation system.
Lymphatic system consists of lymphatic liquid, lymphocytes, lymph ducts, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and thymus gland. However, due to our subject, what concerns us is especially the lymph ducts and nodes.
Lymph nodes should be thought as stations. They are the structures “filtering” the liquid that is filtered from the capillaries to the interstices and become lymphatic liquid. Lymph nodes are extremely important for the immune system.
When you suffer any infection, the reason for these lymph nodes to swell is the activation of the immune system components at those areas (T and B lymphocytes, macrophages and antibody providing dendritic cells).
The cervical cancer metastasize to these nodes primarily. Thus, when operation on the patient due to the cervical cancer, some of these lymph nodes are definitely removed. Whether the patient shall receive additional treatment after the operation is understood as such.
Another term we should emphasize is “lymphovascular invasion.” Lymphovascular invasion term is a microscopic definition and used by pathologists. However, if the pathologist, for example for the cervical cancer precursors, for example CIN 3, indicates that there is a lymphovascular invasion at the tissue examined after conization, this is very important. It is a finding indicating that the illness can relapse.
Meaning, we have taken the womb of the patient in the surgery. And this finding is indicated. The patient should be monitored more closely.
Lymphovascular invasion means that there are cancer cells in between the capillaries and lymph ducts around the tumor. Invasion is fundamentally a French word. It means occupation. As a medical term it means the spreading of the illness. It is usually used for the illness to invade the neighboring organs. Here, it is cervical cancer to be seen in neighboring cells, capillaries and lymphatic ducts. And it is a bad situation. If it is present the gynecologist should be much more careful while monitoring the patient.
In summary, cervical cancer basically spreads through lymphatic ways and blood. It metastasizes firstly to the lymph nodes generally. Therefore if the surgery decision is given, removal of the lymph nodes during this operation is very important about the giving information on spreading of the illness and on necessary treatments to be applied.
Besides this, it can be spread via neighboring first to the bladder and then to the colon. However this is a situation that occurs in advance stages.