Cervical cancer is among the most common cancers of the reproductive organs. Approximately 11,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

As with all cancers, the chances of success in treatment are higher with early detection. An annual Pap smear to detect precancerous cells in the cervix is recommended for all women beginning during puberty.

Most cervical cancer cases are caused by human papillomavirus, better known as HPV, and there are certain protective steps that can be taken to prevent infection with the virus.

Types of Cervical Cancer

There are two main types of cancer of the cervix; each develops from different tissue types. The most common are squamous cell carcinomas. The second most common, comprising only 10 to 20% are called adenocarcinomas.

Squamous cell carcinoma develops from the cells that cover the cervix. Adenocarcinomas develop from the cells that line the inner portion of the cervix and produce cervical mucus. There is some controversy over whether patients with adenocarcinoma of the cervix have a worse prognosis than those with the more common squamous cell carcinoma, but in general it is believed that both share similar outcomes and should be treated in the exact same manner.

The most important factor determining the overall outcome or prognosis of cervical cancer is the stage of the cancer. The stage of the cervical cancer will determine the best treatment options with which the best outcomes can be achieved.

Treatment options are the same for squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Curative treatment options range from outpatient office procedures, to radical surgery, to radiation with chemotherapy. Your course of treatment will depend on many factors and will be determined by Dr. Ivy based on these factors.