Protecting Reproductive Health
At one time, cervical cancer was the most common cause of cancer death for American women. But in last 30 years, deaths from cervical cancer have decreased by more than 50%. Pap smears (or cervical cancer screenings) are the main reason for the decrease as they can detect cervical changes long before cancer develops or at an earlier stage.
Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection or virus. However, HPV vaccines (given in a series to girls AND boys starting at age 11) have proven effective in preventing transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the risk for developing the cancers it can cause.
The two primary types of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 80% to 90% of all cervical cancer, and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma develops in thin, flat cells that line the inner part of the cervix. Adenocarcinoma develops in the cells that line the mucous-producing glands of the cervix. Occasionally, cervical cancer has characteristics of both types and is called adenosquamous carcinoma or mixed carcinoma.
Treating cervical cancer requires a team of specialists because the care may include surgery, radiation and drug therapy as well as nursing care and physical and emotional support. The Penn Medicine Virtua Cancer Program provides these services and more in a coordinated and supportive environment. The program’s gynecologic oncologists are surgeons who specialize in pelvic surgery and reconstruction techniques that help improve outcomes and minimize the potential effects of surgery to this sensitive area of the body.
For more information about Virtua’s cervical cancer services,
call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).