The Stages Of Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is a slow-growing and malignant cancer. The cancer cells are formed in the cells on the surface of the cervix, which is located in the pelvic area. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, and is the tubular muscle which connects the uterus to the birth canal.
Cervical cancer is mainly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is spread by sexual contact. This virus does not always cause cancer, but it is the cause in most cases. Whether or not this virus will lead to cancer depends on the lifestyle and immune system of that individual. Those with a strong immune system can normally fight the virus.
There are basically two main types of cancerous cells in cervical cancer. The Squamous cell carcinomas and the Adenocarcinomas. 80 to 90 percent of all cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These begin in the thin cells which line the bottom of the cervix. 10 to 20 percent are Adenocarcinomas, and they begin in the glandular cells which line the upper part of the cervix.
What are the stages of cervical cancer?
Basically there are 5 stages of this cancer, and they usually are numbered 0-4. If the cancer is not stopped in time it will spread to the uterus, bladder, abdomen, lungs and other organs. Once it spreads to the organs, there is little or no hope of survival.
Stage 0.) At this stage the cancer cells exist only on the surface of the cervix, and have not begun to spread into the deeper tissues.
Stage 1.) The cancer still remains in the cervix, but the cells have begun to spread into the deeper tissues.
Stage 2.) The cancer has begun to spread to the surrounding tissues of the cervix, and possibly the upper part of the vagina.
Stage 3.) The cancer is starting to spread outside of the cervix. It either spreads down and into the vagina, and into the muscles that line the lower pelvic wall. Or it spreads up towards the
bladder where it can block the flow of urine coming from the kidneys and draining into the bladder.
Stage 4.) The cancer is spreading to the rest of the body, the uterus, and vital organs.
Symptoms of cervical cancer may not appear until the later stages of the cancer, but abnormal or pre-cancerous cells can be detected with a pap smear before the cancer occurs. The sooner the cancer is detected, the greater chance of surviving it.