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The highly skilled and well trained gynecological surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital evaluate patients with cervical cancer and provide the most suitable treatment plan for each patient.
They may choose from the various non-surgical and surgical treatment options available. The treatment model that relieves your symptoms and reduces the severity of cervical cancer is considered.
The cervix is at the lower part of the uterus and opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer occurs whenever the cells in the cervix abnormally grow out of control.
Multiple factors including the stage of cancer, health concerns, and preferences of the patient will be considered while treating cervical cancer.
If the cancer of the cervix is found at an early stage, it can be treated by removing the uterus. In this method, the whole uterus or a part of the uterus is removed. This procedure is called as hysterectomy and has a high success rate of curing cervical cancer with very few chances of recurrence. After this procedure, women will never be able to conceive. At a very early stage of cervical cancer, an attempt can be made to save the uterus, enabling the patient to give birth to a child in the future.
Types of hysterectomy procedure followed in the treatment of cervical cancer:
Simple hysterectomy: This procedure is undertaken only in the initial stages of cervical cancer. During this procedure, the cancer cells along with cervix and uterus are removed.
Radical hysterectomy: In this procedure, the uterus, the cervix, part of the vagina, and lymph nodes along with the cancer cells are removed.
Cervical cancer is generally classified into two different types:
At an earlier stage, cervical cancer rarely has any signs or symptoms. As the cancer stages advance, the most common symptoms experienced by patients are listed below:
Early detection has higher chances of getting cervical cancer cured completely. Regular tests are advised for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer from progressing into advanced stages. Your doctor may suggest how often these tests need to be done.
Pap smear test: In this diagnostic procedure, a small portion of the cells from the cervix will be brushed or scraped off and sent to a lab for diagnosis. Pap smear also called Pap test can find precancerous or cancerous cells of the cervix with a help of a microscope.
Colonoscopy and cervical biopsy: This test is conducted to find if there are precancerous or cancerous cells on the surface of the cervix.
Endocervical biopsy / curettage: In this test, your doctor will use a curette (a spoon-shaped tool) or a thin brush to scrape off the surface of the cervical canal to find out if precancerous or cancerous cells are present.
Cone biopsy or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): This is another procedure to remove the cervical tissue to examine under the microscope for abnormal cell growth. In this procedure, deeper layers of cervical tissues are removed. This procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia.
Punch biopsy: With the help of a punch biopsy forceps, a small sample of cervical tissue will be pinched off and sent for diagnosis.
Electric wire loop: In this procedure, a thin low-voltage electric wire is used to remove the tissue sample from the cervix. This technique is performed under general anesthesia.
HPV DNA test: In this test, the cells from the cervix are collected and checked for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is a cause of cervical cancer. This test is usually conducted in women who have an abnormal Pap test.
Staging of cervical cancer
If the above test indicates that there are precancerous or cancerous cells, the medical practitioner will try to find out which stage of cervical cancer the patient is going through, so few more tests will have to be conducted.
The staging exams are generally categorized as below:
Imaging: With the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and CT scans the medical practitioner will be able to know how far the cancer has spread beyond the cervical area.
Physical examination: With the help of sophisticated scopes, the medical practitioner will view the inner regions of the urinary bladder and rectum to find out to what extent the cervical cancer has spread.
Cervical cancer stages
First Stage: Cancer is present only in the cervix.
Second Stage: Cancer is present in the cervix and has spread to the upper portion of the vagina.
Third Stage: Cancer from cervix has moved to the lower part of the vagina or into the pelvic wall.
Fourth Stage: Cancer from cervix has spread to adjacent organs, such as the urinary bladder or rectum, or to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver or sometimes into the bones.
The major reason for cervical cancer is the HPV virus, which can spread between people through sexual intercourse.
Unprotected sex: Not using a condom while having sexual intercourse can transfer the virus between the partners.
Multiple sexual partners: the more sexual partners, the higher is the possibility of acquiring HPV.
Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Having other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, and AIDS will increase the chances of HPV infection.
Lack of Immunity: Strong immune system will suppress HPV infection, but when the immune system gets weakened by other kinds of infection and followed by HPV infection the chances of cervical cancer is very high.
Smoking: Smoking can initiate squamous cell cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is usually caused by a viral infection. This virus is called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are numerous types of HPVs, and only a few types of these HPVs cause cervical cancer.
The HPV virus present on the cervix for a long time changes the genetic structure of the cells, which is also called genetic mutation. These genetically altered cells grow and multiply out of control and cause cervical cancer.
Curcumin: This is an ingredient found in turmeric and has the ability to retard the growth of cancer cells in the body. Consuming this regularly along with food preparations can control the growth of cancerous cells, and can prevent tumor.
Ellagic acid: Studies have shown that ellagic acid has the ability to destroy tumor cells. Ellagic acid is abundantly found in fruits and nuts such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pecans, and walnuts.
Cervical cancer can be prevented by the following methods:
Pap smear test: Discuss with your doctor how often Pap smear test should be done to detect HPV infection or genetic cell mutation of the cervix.
Stop smoking: Smoking can affect women very badly, even passive smoking gives high chance of squamous cell mutation, which can lead to cervical cancer.
HPV vaccination: Both males and females can take the dose of HPV vaccination to avoid infecting themselves and their partners. These vaccinations are given starting from teen ages. The vaccine for men and women vary, so you can consult your doctor about the right vaccination to go for.
Are you suffering from abnormal vaginal discharges, bleeding between periods, pelvic discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse? For any questions, information or guidance related to cervical cancer, consult our specialty-trained, skilled gynecologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.
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