Cape Cod Community College
I chose to do my research paper on Cervical Cancer. I did this because this is the disease that took the life of my fiancés mother. It has been to my understanding that this would mean she is at a higher risk for this disease. I have put together five questions that I would like to research on the topic to give myself a further understanding of the potential dangers of Cervical Cancer. These questions are: What is Cervical Cancer? What causes Cervical Cancer? How do we Diagnose Cervical Cancer? What are the stages of Cervical Cancer? How do we treat Cervical Cancer? I believe if I answer these questions I will have at least some piece of mind.
What is cervical cancer?
The cervix of the uterus is the ninth most common site of cancers affecting women. As compared with all the cancers of the reproductive organs of women, it rates third, after uterine cancer and ovarian cancer. (Medical and Health Encyclopedia, 2000, pp. 435-436) The cervix is the lower part of the uterus .The body of the uterus is where a baby grows. The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina. The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix. The part next to the vagina is the exocervix. The 2 main types of cells covering the cervix are squamous cells and glandular cells. The place where these 2 cell types meet is called the transformation zone. Most cervical cancers start in the transformation zone. Also most cervical cancers begin in the cells lining the cervix. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer. Doctors use several terms to describe these pre-cancerous changes, including cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), and dysplasia. Cervical cancers and cervical pre-cancers are classified by how they look under a microscope. There are 2 main types of cervical cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. About 80% to 90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers are from the squamous cells that cover the surface of the exocervix. Under the microscope, this type of cancer is made up of cells that are like squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinomas most often begin where the exocervix joins the endocervix. Most of the remaining cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas. Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes (pre-cancers), only some of the women with pre-cancers of the cervix will develop cancer. The change from cervical pre-cancer to cervical cancer usually takes several years, but it can happen in less than a year. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without any treatment. Still, in some women pre-cancers turn into true (invasive) cancers. Treating all pre-cancers can prevent almost all true cancers. Pre-cancerous changes are separated into different categories based on how the cells of the cervix look under a microscope. Although almost all cervical cancers are either squamous cell carcinomas or adenocarcinomas, other types of cancer also can develop in the cervix. These other types, such as melanoma, sarcoma, and lymphoma, occur more commonly in other parts of the body. (What Is Cervical Cancer, 2010) What causes Cervical Cancer?
A viral infection called the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes about 70-90% of all cervical cancers. HPV describes a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of both men and women. However, most people who have healthy immune systems experience no symptoms of the virus. Currently, there is no cure for HPV. When a woman is exposed to HPV, her immune system usually prevents the virus from doing any serious harm. But in a small number of women,...