About Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer is no longer the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States due largely in part to women receiving regular PAP Tests. The PAP Test detects cervical precancer before it turns into cancer. That early detection is key in prevention and treatment.
Cervical Cancer does not discriminate when it comes to age so it is important to know the signs and systems to promote early detection.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer starts in the cells that line the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus. Typically, healthy cells grow, multiply and die at a set time. When the healthy cells undergo a mutation, the predetermined time for cell activity grow and multiply out of control nor do they die. Those accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor. Some of the cancer cells from that tumor can also break off (metastasize) and invade other parts of the body.
There are two main types of cervical cancer. Depending on which you are diagnosed with determines your prognosis and treatment. The two different types of cervical cancer are:
Squamous cell carcinoma - this type makes up the majority of cervical cancers that are diagnosed. This type of cervical cancer begins in the squamous cells (thin, flat cells) lining the outer part of the cervix
Adenocarcinoma - this cervical cancer begins in the column-shaped glandular cells that line the cervical canal
It is possible for both types of cells to be in involved in cervical cancer.
Several factors can increase your risk for cervical cancer.
Many sexual partners
Early sexual activity
HPV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
A weakened immune system
Exposure to miscarriage drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) - If you mother was pregnant with you in the 1950s and took this drug, you may have an increased risk for a cervical cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma
While the above risk factors do not mean that you will get cervical cancer they do increase your risk. It is imperative that you speak with your doctor, review your medical history, and determine if you should receive more frequent exams/screenings.