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Cervical cancer

Related Terms

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Background

  • Cervical cancer develops in the lining of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus (womb) entering the vagina (birth canal). Cells usually change from normal to pre-cancer and then to cancer over a number of years, although some cases can happen more quickly. These changes are referred to by several terms, including cervical dysplasia (also known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or CIN). For some women, these changes may go away without any treatment, but more often they need to be treated to prevent them from becoming true cancers.
  • Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting a woman's reproductive organs. Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
  • Low-grade CIN or dysplasia indicates a minimal change in cells, and high-grade CIN indicates a greater degree of abnormality. CIN may progress to squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL), a condition preceding cervical cancer, or to carcinoma in situ, a cancer not extending beyond the epithelial membrane. SIL is also classified as low or high-grade, and high-grade SIL or carcinoma in situ may progress to invasive carcinoma (cancer that has spread to healthy tissue).
  • There are two main types of cervical cancer. Squamous cell carcinomas occurs about 80-90% of the time, and the other 10 to 20% develop in the glands called adenocarcinomas. If the cancer has features of both types it is known as mixed carcinoma. Human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus that causes genital warts, is the primary cause in more than 90% of cervical squamous cell carcinomas.
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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.