Cervical cancer occurs within the cells of the cervix. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Although HPV is common, most cases of HPV do not result in cervical cancer. The body can defend against the virus, preventing the development of cancerous cells. Factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer include smoking, a family history of the disease, and a low immune system. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs when the cancerous cells form in the lining of your cervix and accounts for about 90% of all cervical cancer cases.
Although cervical cancer is not entirely preventable, there are some steps women can take to reduce their risk. A regular visit to your OBGYN is critical to your health. Your doctor will conduct pap tests and cervical cancer screens that can detect the disease early on.
As HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, using protection will significantly reduce the risk of contracting it. Additionally, the CDC recommends that all women through the age of 26 receive the HPV vaccine. Those 9-years and older can receive the vaccine.
Symptoms are often not present during the early stages of cervical cancer. However, if you experience any of the below symptoms, be sure to reach out to your doctor right away.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Decreased appetite
If there is a cervical cancer diagnosis, your doctor will determine the stage and severity of the disease. They will then develop a treatment plan based on your unique situation.
Surgery can treat the early stages of cervical cancer. Your doctor will present a few options for surgery that will be thoroughly discussed with you, ensuring all of your questions and concerns are addressed. Radiation and chemotherapy are also options in some cases.
Cervical cancer can be detected early by keeping up with yearly pap smears and doctor’s visits. If detected early on, the survival rate is around 90%. All of our patients are encouraged to contact us if they have any concerns regarding cervical cancer or any other medical questions.