The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus, connecting the uterus to the vagina. It is part of the female reproductive system.
Sometimes cells in the cervix change or stop growing altogether. Some benign changes of cervical cells include the development of polyps, cysts or fibroids. Sometimes cervical cells become precancerous. Most precancerous changes simply require certain treatment and never develop into cancer.
Doctors, generally, describe abnormal changes to cervical cells as squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL).
The most common types of cervical cancer are:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – starts in the squamous cells which cover the ectocervix (outer lining of the cervix)
Adenocarcinoma – starts in the glandular cells (mucous-making) that line the inside of the cervix.
Other types of cervical cancer are rare and include adenosquamous carcinoma, glassy cell carcinoma, and mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
Causes & Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
The most important risk factor for getting cervical cancer is having had an HPV infection. Most cervical cancer cases are seen in women under the age of 50. Women of African ancestry have a higher risk factor than Caucasian women.
Risk factors for Cervical Cancer include:
• Human papilomavirus (HPV)
• multiple births
• being sexually active
• weakened immune system
• taking oral contraceptive/birth control medication
• low socio-economic status
Other possible risk factors include:
• family history of cervical cancer
• personal history of an STD (sexually transmitted disease)
Some of the following symptoms can be caused by things other than Cervical cancer, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer include:
• unusual vaginal discharge; can be pale, watery, pink, brown or bloody
• sudden heavy or long periods
• bleeding after intercourse
• bleeding after douching or pelvic exam
• increase in vaginal discharge
• foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Later Symptoms of Cervical Cancer Include:
• blood in stool or urine
• difficulty with urination
• pain in lower pelvic region or lower back
• edema of lower extremities
• loss of appetite and/or weight loss
Who Gets Cervical Cancer
Women with a higher risk for developing cervical cancer include women under the age of 50, women who have a history of an HPV infection, women with a weakened immune system, and women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a nonsteroidal estrogen medication rarely used today, before birth.
Prognosis if You Have Cervical Cancer
5 Year Survival Rates for Cervical Cancer:
- 1A — 93 percent
- 1B — 80 percent
- 11A — 63 percent
- 11B — 58 percent
- 111A — 35 percent
- 111B — 32 percent
- 1VA — 16 percent
- 1VB — 15 percent
Prognosis can depend on several different factors including:
• type of cancer
• medical history
• stage of cancer
• treatment response
Conventional Recommended Treatments
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for Cervical cancers include:
• targeted therapy
• clinical trials