Cervical Cancer Symptoms & Treatment
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Cervical cancer occurs after abnormal cells grow out of control on the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – begins in the lining of the outer part of the cervix. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas
- Adenocarcinoma – begins in cells that line the cervical canal
Causes & Risk Factors
- Human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can be sexually transmitted
- Early sexual activity
- Other sexually transmitted infections
- A weak immune system
- Vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual periods or after menopause
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse or a pelvic exam
- Abnormal menstrual periods
- Vaginal discharge between periods or after menopause
- Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
- Abnormal pap test results
- Physical exam
- HPV test
- Colposcopy – magnifies cells of the cervix and vagina
- Computed tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET scan)
- Conization – a cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix to diagnose cancer or remove abnormal cells
- Hysterectomy – removal of the uterus and cervix
- Radical hysterectomy – removal of the uterus, cervix, upper vagina and adjacent tissue
- Trachelectomy – removal of the cervix and upper part of the vagina to preserve fertility
- Pelvic exenteration – similar to a radical hysterectomy, but performed to treat recurrent cervical cancer. The bladder, vagina, rectum and part of the colon also may be removed.
- Pelvic lymph node dissection – removal of pelvic lymph nodes adjacent to the cervix to evaluate disease spread and treatment planning. It is performed with a radical hysterectomy.
- Radiation therapy