Delta Medix Patient General Information

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer begins in cells on the surface of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb), and connects the uterus to the vagina. Over time, cervical cancer can invade more deeply into the cervix and nearby tissues. The cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor. They enter blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into all the tissues of the body. The cancer cells may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.

Early cervical cancers usually do not cause symptoms. When the cancer grows larger, women may notice one or more of these symptoms

  • Bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam
  • Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
  • Bleeding after going through menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Infections or other health problems may also cause these symptoms. A woman with any of these symptoms should tell her doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Finding and treating abnormal cells can prevent most cervical cancer. A Pap test is a simple test used to look at cervical cells, and is done in a doctor’s office or clinic during a pelvic examination. A Pap test can help find cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be effective.

Treatment Options for Cervical Cancer

  • Surgery is an option for women with certain stages of cervical cancer. The surgeon removes tissue that may contain cancer cells. You and your surgeon can talk about the types of surgery and which may be right for you.
  • Radiation Therapy is an option for women with any stage of cervical cancer. Women with early stage cervical cancer may choose radiation therapy instead of surgery. It also may be used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain in the area. Women with cancer that extends beyond the cervix may have radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It affects cells only in the treated area. Doctors use two types of radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer. Some women receive both external radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy is usually combined with radiation therapy for the treatment of cervical cancer. For cancer that has spread to distant organs, chemotherapy alone may be used. Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and can affect cancer cells all over the body. Anticancer drugs may be given through a vein, but some may be given by mouth.