Cervical Cancer

The cervix is the bottom of the uterus, and cervical cancer begins in the cells lining this area.  Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix gradually develop into pre-cancerous growths that turn into cancer. These changes can be detected by the Pap test and treated before they develop into cancer. It’s extremely important to note that there are two current vaccines available to protect patients from cervical cancer.

Know Your Risk

The following are known to increase your chance of developing cervical cancer, and in some cases cervical dysplasia.

  • Human papilloma virus
  • Numerous sexual partners
  • Smoking
  • Use of birth control pills 

Symptoms, Treatment & Diagnosis

Early detection of cervical cancer increases your chances of beating the disease. It’s important that you stay aware of the following symptoms and schedule an appointment with your provider if you notice any of these changes occurring.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Unusual menstrual bleeding

Pelvic examinations and Pap smear tests are the usual means of detection. Afterward, your primary care physician may refer you to a specialist who can perform additional steps to determine the stage of the cancer and develop a treatment plan. Options for treatment include radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy.