f t y

Cervical Cancer 101

Mar 3rd, 2014

Cervical cancer is caused by HPV and can occur if severe dysplasia is left untreated. Again, not all women with HPV get dysplasia, and not all women with dysplasia get cervical cancer. Certain factors predispose women to the progression of dysplasia to cancer, including smoking, immunosuppression, poor nutrition, and an unhealthy lifestyle. In general, cervical cancer comes from precancer, so the same influences of lifestyle apply. Of course, identifying precancer and treating it is the key to preventing cervical cancer. I am often asked what the differences between precancer and cancer are. Here is a video to help explain.

A Pap smear usually identifies early microscopic cervical cancers. The Pap smear cannot provide a definitive diagnosis but acts as a red flag to let your doctor know something is wrong. Often, a biopsy is the next step to investigate further. Small but visible cancers can cause abnormal bleeding, especially after intercourse. If your gynecologist sees a lesion on your cervix, she should biopsy it right away. Larger cancers of the cervix can cause heavy vaginal bleeding, a foul-smelling discharge, and pelvic pain. Cervical cancer surgery may be the best treatment option, depending on your condition and doctor’s advice.

Leave a Reply