Cervical Cancer Overview
WellStar Health System provides superior care for cervical cancer, offering a comprehensive spectrum of top-notch physicians, treatment options and diagnostic tools. In addition WellStar offers such innovative advances in the fight against cervical cancer, including:
- Advanced gynecologic oncologists who specialize in cervical cancer and who practice state-of-the-art care in a collegial atmosphere.
- Expert surgical teams offering experience in hysterectomies and other procedures.
- The entire spectrum of diagnostic and interventional treatments – including ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), a treatment that allows for the radiation to be tailored to the size and placement of the tumor, while sparing healthy tissue.
Cervical cancer, or cancer of the small organ connecting the uterus and vagina, is one of the most prevalent cancers among women in developing nations. But cervical cancer incidence in the United States has declined over the last several decades, mostly due to screenings with the Pap test, which detects abnormalities in the cervix early. About 12,100 women will develop cervical cancer this year in the U.S., and about 4,200 women are expected to die from the disease. Most of those cases will be from advanced disease.
However, cervical cancer in its early stages has a survival rate of about 91 percent. As many as 80 percent of women diagnosed with advanced disease have not had a Pap test in at least five years.
Also, the development of vaccines to thwart the human papillomaviruses (HPV), that cause cervical cancer, has proven successful in preventing the disease. For the vaccines to be effective, however, they must be administered before a girl or woman has become sexually active. The American Cancer Society recommends vaccination for girls as young as 9 and up until age 18. Studies on the effectiveness of the vaccine for young women 19 to 26 have not been conclusive, so the ACS recommends that women in this age group discuss vaccination with their physicians. Your WellStar gynecologist will be able to discuss the vaccines available and whether they might be of benefit to you.
Symptoms of cervical cancer include:
- A vaginal discharge
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Pain during intercourse
- Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
- A weakened immune system.
- Number of sexual partners
- Multiple full-term pregnancies.
- Young age at first full-term pregnancy.
- Diet lacking in fruits and vegetables.
- Family history
- Birth control pills.