Cervical Cancer

May 13, 2024 by Maria Chege0

Cancer of the cervix happens when normal cells in the cervix change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. Most people whose cervical cancer is found and treated early do very well. The cervix is the bottom part of the uterus, where it meets the vagina. The cervix is composed of two main types of cells. The outer layer of the cervix is covered with cells called squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix is the name for a cancer that affects these cells. The cervix also includes glandular cells, which line the canal of the cervix that leads into the uterus. These cells can also become cancerous; when they do, they are called adenocarcinoma of the cervix. Although they arise from different types of cells, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the cervix are treated similarly in the early stages.

Risk Factors

Most cervical cancers are caused by infection with a virus called human papillomavirus. HPV is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, includi ng sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or any other contact involving the genital area (eg, hand-to-genital or mouth-to-genital contact). HPV infection can also cause a noncancerous condition called condyloma, which is caused by genital warts.

HPV infection is very common. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of sexually active adults will acquire a genital HPV infection before the age of 50. There are many types of HPV, and these affect different areas of the body. Most HPV infections are temporary because the body’s immune system effectively clears the infection.

Risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Increasing number /constant change of sexual partners. The greater your number of sexual partners and the greater your partner’s number of sexual partners, the greater your chance of getting HPV.
  • Early sexual activity. Having sex at an early age increases your risk of HPV.
  • Bad sexual hygiene
  • Other sexually transmitted infections.
  • A weakened immune system, e.g HIV/AIDS
  • Genetic prädisposition
  • Exposure to miscarriage prevention medicine. If your parent took a medicine called diethylstilbestrol, also known as DES, while pregnant, your risk of cervical cancer might be increased. This medicine was used in the 1950s to prevent miscarriage. It’s linked to a type of cervical cancer called clear-cell adenocarcinoma.


Typically, cervical cancer develops slowly over several years. In some cases, the cancer does not cause any symptoms, while in others, it causes abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. This can include vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, bleeding after sex, or bleeding after menopause. This bleeding may be spotting or heavy bleeding.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Menstrual bleeding that is heavier and lasts longer than usual.
  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor.
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse.


Pap testing and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing are commonly used together to screen for cervical cancer. If a Pap test shows abnormal cells, further testing is essential, as treatment of abnormal cells of the cervix can prevent cervical cancer. A biopsy of the cervix involves removing a small piece of tissue from the cervix. The biopsy is performed during an office visit using a procedure called colposcopy. The colposcope, which is similar to a large magnifying lens, magnifies the view of the cervix. This allows the clinician to better see the location, extent, and degree of cervical abnormalities that may not be visible with the naked eye alone.

The tissue obtained during the biopsy is examined with a microscope to see if cervical cancer cells are present. In some cases, more of the cervix will need to be removed for biopsy; this is done through a procedure called cervical conization or a cone biopsy. This can be done either in the operating room by a surgeon using a scalpel or in the office using a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). LEEP is performed with a device that uses an electric current to remove a piece of the cervix. You will usually get the results of the biopsy one to two weeks after the biopsy is done.

CT-scan or MRI of the Pelvis Region: to determine spreading of the tumor to other organs or regions of the body.


Cervical cancer can be treated in different ways:

  • Surgery: Some cases of cervical cancer are treated with surgery to remove the cancer. Different types of surgery can involve:
  • Removing the cervix, uterus, and upper part of the vagina is called a “radical hysterectomy.”
  • Removing all or part of the cervix but leaving the uterus in place—this surgery is done only in special situations.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the medical term for medicines that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. People with cervical cancer usually receive chemotherapy at the same time as radiation therapy.


Cervical cancer can be prevented through:

  • HPV Vaccination.
  • Routine Pap tests.
  • Practicing safe sex.
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Avoid cigarette smoking.

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