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Advances make cervical cancer highly treatable and increasingly preventable

Advances make cervical cancer highly treatable and increasingly preventable


In Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Sonal Sura discusses recent advances in treating patients with cervical cancer.

Since 1975, cervical cancer diagnosis and mortality rates in women have steadily declined. This is thanks to new targeted therapies, sophisticated diagnostic tools, and vaccines against the viruses that cause most of these reproductive cancers.

Cancer diagnoses can be terrifying for women, but doctors and oncologists reassure patients about a range of preventative measures and targeted treatments that reduce a woman’s lifetime risk of contracting or dying from cervical cancer. can provide guidance.1

Depending on where the cancer cells originate and how aggressive they are after they are detected, Doctors have many options treatment This includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted cell therapy, and immunotherapy.2

Encouraging statistics on cervical cancer

Over the past 50 years, several factors have changed the treatment of cervical cancer. Beginning in the 1970s, Pap smears became widely used to detect cervical cancer, and its incidence began to decline. Discovered in the 1980s after a German scientist definitively linked cervical cancer to human papillomavirus (HPV), spurring his more extensive HPV screening and ultimately the development of his HPV vaccine. Since then, infection rates have continued to decline.3

Thanks to better screening and early intervention, cervical cancer is now the 20th most common cancer among American women, causing about 14,100 new cases and about 4,300 deaths each year. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 0.7% of all new cancer cases and deaths are attributable to cervical cancer.Four According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer ranks fourth among women in 2018 with approximately 570,000 cases diagnosed and 311,000 deaths.Five

According to the American Cancer Society, the relative survival rate for cervical cancer in the United States is 66.7%, with survival rates higher for cancers that have not spread beyond the cervix, and cancers that have spread beyond the cervix. The survival rate for untreated cancers is low. transferred.

Dealing with remaining challenges

A key challenge for doctors and their patients is that cervical cancer often presents without symptoms, according to the National Cancer Institute. The most common are vaginal bleeding, abnormal vaginal discharge, and pelvic pain.

In addition to HPV, common risk factors for cervical cancer include initiation of sexual activity at an early age. multiple sexual partners; suppressed immune system; frequent births. Although oral contraceptives can be used for a long time, the risk gradually decreases when the contraceptive is stopped.

Discussions with women about cervical cancer need to focus heavily on prevention, including the value of regular Pap smears throughout the woman’s life to look for cellular changes in the lining of the cervix. I have. In addition, women should advise their pre-teen and adolescent daughters to schedule her HPV vaccination.

The first vaccine should be given between the ages of 9 and 12 years, with regular follow-up during late adolescence and early adulthood. A study conducted in Denmark in 2021 found that women aged 16-19 who received the HPV vaccine had a lower risk of cervical cancer than women who did not receive the vaccine.

Screening Informs Treatment Options

If a patient has cervical cancer, following accepted guidelines can help identify, diagnose, classify, and explore treatment options for cervical cancer.

Providing specific information about your cancer type and stage will give you the information you need to better understand your recommendations and options. Cervical cancer falls into the spectrum of stages I-IV. Stage I represents cancer cells/tumors that remain small and are localized to the cervix. , block the kidneys, ureters, rectum or spread to the vagina, uterus, pelvic wall, distant lymph nodes, liver or lungs.

It is also important to follow generally accepted protocols for tests and laboratory tests to identify certain types of cancer. These include:

  • Patient physical examination and medical history.
  • A pelvic exam is a physical examination of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and rectum to check for signs of disease.
  • Pap test, which collects cells from the cervix and around it with a small brush. Examine the specimen under a microscope for abnormal cells or signs of HPV infection.
  • Endocervical curettage and/or colposcopy. It is usually done as a follow-up to a suspected Pap smear. Both procedures involve a more extensive examination of the cervix and a deeper collection of cervical tissue for signs of cancer or abnormal cells.
  • Biopsy of cells for signs of cancer.
  • DNA testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans can help fine-tune the location of the tumor and inform targeted and effective treatment.

Decisions guided by treatment options, type of cancer, confined to the cervix or spread to nearby tissues/organs, tumor size, aided by data from tests and test results can be changed. (s) the age and/or menopausal status of the patient and whether the patient wishes to have children after cancer treatment;

Wide range of treatment options

Fortunately, today’s oncologists and physicians have a variety of treatment options to choose from, based on input and discussion from patients, especially when treatments affect future decisions about childbirth and menopause. I need to adjust my proposal.


Small tumors can be removed by cone biopsy or cone excision. Removing a small amount of tissue from the cervix leaves the surrounding healthy tissue intact. If the cancer has spread, a hysterectomy removes the cervix and uterus. If a woman wants to become pregnant, a gynecological surgeon can perform a hysterectomy, which removes part of the cervix and vagina but leaves the uterus intact and sutured. Subsequent pregnancies should be delivered by caesarean section.


This approach targets cancer cells while minimizing surrounding healthy tissue [adverse events]Options include external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), which delivers radiation from outside the body. Internal radiation therapy (IRT), in which a radioactive source is implanted inside the body. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which uses precise radiation that conforms to the shape of the tumor, and intracavitary brachytherapy, which delivers radiation to the tumor through a small catheter.

Chemotherapy and targeted therapy

Chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells, whether used in combination with other treatments or as a single treatment. Recent discoveries and drugs allow oncologists to target and block specific cellular activities that help cancer cells and tumors grow.


Often used for tumors that continue to grow or spread after chemotherapy, it awakens the body’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Clinical trials for cervical cancer are also underway.

A cancer diagnosis is always filled with anxiety and fear for patients. Referrals to physicians and oncologists for treatment can mitigate the impact of these early responses by highlighting the range of successful treatment options and the relatively high survival rates of cervical cancer diagnoses.


1) Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) – Health Professional Edition. National Cancer Institute. April 28, 2022. Access date: August 30, 2022.

2) Cervical cancer. genesis care. Accessed: August 28, 2022.

3) Weiss RA. About viruses, discovery and awareness. cell. 12 December 2008;135(6):983-6. Doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.11.022

4) Cancer Facts and Figures 2022. American Cancer Society. Access date: August 30, 2022.

5) Cervical cancer. World Health Organization. Date accessed: August 31, 2022.

6) Kjaer SK, Dehlendorff C, Belmonte F, Baandrup L. Real-world efficacy of human papillomavirus vaccination against cervical cancer. J National Cancer Institute. 1 October 2021;113(10):1329-1335. Doi: 10.1093/jnci/djab080




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