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 the pill
• 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) 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 medicine’s main types of treatment for Cervical cancers include:
• targeted therapy
• clinical trials
How to prevent cervical cancer
Avoiding risk factors is the best way to help prevent cervical cancer. You can also lower your risk by choosing a more healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, staying within a healthy weight range, and adequate physical activity.
Immune system health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasis (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body