Cervical Cancer Info


Brief Summary
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the cervix (organ connecting the womb and the vagina). Cervical cancer develops slowly and can be discovered with a Pap smear test (procedure in which cells of the cervix are scrapped and studied under a microscope). Cervical cancer is completely preventable if pre-cancerous cell changes are detected and treated early.

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb). The upper part, or body of the uterus, is where a fetus grows. The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix. The part next to the vagina is the ectocervix. Most cervical cancers start where these 2 parts meet.

Cancer of the cervix (also known as cervical cancer) begins in the lining of the cervix. Cervical cancers do not form suddenly. Normal cervical cells gradually develop precancerous changes that turn into cancer. Doctors use several terms to describe these precancerous changes, including cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), and dysplasia.

Some women with precancerous changes of the cervix will develop cancer. This process usually takes several years but sometimes can happen in less than a year. For most women, precancerous cells will remain unchanged and go away without any treatment. But if these precancers are treated, almost all true cancers can be prevented

There are 2 main types of cervical cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Cervical cancers and cervical precancers are classified by how they look under a microscope. About 80% to 90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which are composed of cells that resemble the flat, thin cells called squamous cells that cover the surface of the endocervix. Squamous cell carcinomas most often begin where the ectocervix joins the endocervix. The remaining 10% to 20% of cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinomas are becoming more common in women born in the last 20 to 30 years. Cervical adenocarcinoma develops from the mucus-producing gland cells of the endocervix. Less commonly, cervical cancers have features of both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. These are called adenosquamous carcinomas or mixed carcinomas.




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