January 10, 2023
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the cervix, the lower and narrow end of the uterus. This type of cancer usually develops slowly, beginning with the appearance of abnormal cells in the cervical tissue (“What is Cervical Cancer,” 2022). If these abnormal cells are not removed, they can transform into cancer cells, growing and spreading deeper into the cervix and surrounding areas. Most cervical cancers are formed from HPV (human papillomavirus) infections.
There are two types of cervical cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, named after the type of cell where the cancer started. Up to 90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (“What is Cervical Cancer,” 2022). The National Cancer Institute states that adenocarcinoma is a rarer form of cervical cancer, developing in the glandular cells of the endocervix (2022). It is possible for cervical cancer to have features of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, called mixed carcinoma.
To reduce your risk of cervical cancer, the CDC recommends receiving the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteens but can be given starting at age 9 and is suggested for everyone else through the age of 26, if they have not received their vaccine already (“What Can I Do,” 2022). Adults older than 26-years-old who have yet to get the HPV vaccine should talk with their provider to discuss their risks and the benefits of the vaccine, although the HPV vaccine is shown to be less effective at this age (“What can I Do,” 2022). Other steps to help prevent cervical cancer include using condoms during sex and not smoking.
The CDC recommends regularly getting screened to reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer. Pap tests, or pap smears, are a type of screening that discovers precancers, such as cell changes on the cervix that have a possibility of becoming cervical cancer. HPV testing seeks HPV that can induce cellular alterations. Talk with your provider to see how often you should get screened.
Haven’t had a screening recently or are you experiencing symptoms? Call NEW Health today at (509) 935-6004 to schedule your appointment.
What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Cervical Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 14) Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/prevention.htm
What is Cervical Cancer? National Cancer Institute. (2022, October 13). Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical
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