Pathophysiology: This topic talks about the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer. For general information about abnormal Pap test results, see the topic Abnormal Pap Test. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into thevagina. Cervical cancer can often be successfully treated when it's found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a Pap test. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide. But in the United States and other countries where cervicalcancer screening is routine, this cancer is not so common.1 Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPVcause cervical cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms. Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time. An infection may go away on its own. But sometimes it can cause genital warts or lead to cervical cancer. That's why it's important for women to have regular Pap tests. A Pap test can find changes in cervical cells before they turn into cancer. If you treat these cell changes, you may prevent cervical cancer. Abnormal cervical cell changes rarely cause symptoms. But you may have symptoms if those cell changes grow into cervical cancer.Symptoms of cervical cancer may include: ? Bleeding from the vagina that is not normal, such as bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex, or after menopause. ? Pain in the lower belly or pelvis. ? Pain during sex. ? Vaginal discharge that isn't normal. As part of your regular pelvic exam, you should have a Pap test. During a Pap test, the doctor scrapes a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix to look for cell changes. If a Pap test shows abnormal cell changes, your doctor may do other tests to look for precancerous or cancer cells on your cervix.
Symptoms :Cervical cancer typically does not cause symptoms until its later stages, so cervical CIS may by asymptomatic. Because of this, regular Pap smears are important to catch any abnormal cell changes early.
TREATMENT: Cervical cancer is treatable and curable if caught early. Most patients need surgery only, though radiation or chemotherapy is sometimes called for if cancer has spread. Surgery may be a simple hysterectomy, which removes the uterus, or a radical hysterectomy, which also removes tissues around the cervix.
STATISTICS: Cervical cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.1 For more information, visit HPV-Associated Cervical Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity. In 2012 (the most recent year numbers are available)? ? 12,042 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer.*2 ? 4,074 women in the United States died from cervical cancer.*