Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Quick Overview of Cervical Cancer

What is it? What causes it?
There are two types of cervical cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. 
Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the thin, flat cells that line the cervix. 
Adenocarcinoma begins in cervical cells that make mucus and other fluids. The cervix is the end of the uterus and leads from the uterus to the vagina.  

There are certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause almost all cases of cervical cancer. Two HPV types, 16 and 18, are responsible for about 70 percent of all cases

How many women will be diagnosed?
There will be an estimated 12,900 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US in 2015. Cervical cancer will take the lives of an estimated 4,100 women in 2015.  The five year survival rate for cervical cancer is 67.8%. In 2012 there were an estimated 249,512 womenin the US living with cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Vaginal bleeding (including bleeding after sexual intercourse)
Unusual vaginal discharge
Pelvic pain
Pain during sexual intercourse.

Is there a screening test for cervical cancer ? 
 Regular screening of women between the ages of 21 and 65 years is done using the Pap Test. (http://www.cancer.gov/Common/PopUps/popDefinition.aspx?id=45978&version=Patient&language=English)

If the Pap test is positive and HPV test may be recommended. 

What are the risk factors? 
Though not all women who have the HPV infection will develop cervical cancer , HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer. Other risks include: 
  • Giving birth to many children.
  • Having many sexual partners.
  • Having first sexual intercourse at a young age.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Using oral contraceptives ("the Pill").
Is there a way to prevent cervical cancers?
Yes vaccines developed to prevent HPV infections can prevent cervical cancer. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines to prevent HPV infection: Gardasil®, Gardasil® 9, and Cervarix®. These vaccines provide strong protection against new HPV infections, but they are not effective at treating established HPV infections. "(NCI)

What treatments are given to women diagnosed with cervical cancer? 
Women may be treated with :

For more information please visit:
Foundation for Women's Cancer brochure Understanding Cervical Cancer (http://www.foundationforwomenscancer.org/wp-content/uploads/Understanding-Cervical-Cancer-2013.pdf)

Are you a cervical cancer survivor? Visit the Cervivor website http://cervivor.org/

Every day is a Blessing!


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