• Conditions InDepth: Cervical Cancer

    Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that connects the uterus with the vagina. It is the outlet of the uterus through which menses flow and babies are delivered. Normally, the cells of the cervix divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing in an unregulated manner, a mass of tissue forms. This mass is called a tumor. A tumor can be benign or malignant. In the cervix, cancer can arise either from the squamous cells (squamous cell carcinoma) that line the outer surface of the cervix or the glandular cells that are found in the channel that connects to the rest of the womb (adenocarcinoma).
    The Cervix
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    A benign tumor is not cancer. It will not spread to other parts of the body. A malignant tumor is cancer. Cancer cells divide and damage tissue around them. They can enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body. This can be life threatening.
    Pap smears are largely responsible for the significant decline in deaths from cervical cancer over the past 30-40 years. Despite this success, 11,270 women in the US still learn they have cervical cancer each year.
    Cervical cancer comes in two major forms:
    • Squamous cell cancer—arises form the cells on the outermost portion of the cervix that connects with the vagina
    • Adenocarcinoma—arises from the gland cells that are found on the inner lining of the cervical canal
    Squamous cancer is more common than adenocarinoma. Most cases of squamous cancer are associated with infection with a virus ( human papillomavirus or HPV), which, in addition to increasing the risk for cervical cancer, causes telltale changes in the cells of the cervix. These changes can be detected by Pap smear and indicate an increased risk for developing cervical cancer.
    What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?How is cervical cancer diagnosed?What are the treatments for cervical cancer?Are there screening tests for cervical cancer?How can I reduce my risk of cervical cancer?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with cervical cancer?Where can I get more information about cervical cancer?


    American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp. Accessed January 3, 2014.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov. Accessed January 3, 2014.

    Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 7, 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014.

    Grady D. Guidelines push back age for cervical cancer tests. The New York Times website. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/health/20pap.html?%5Fr=1. Published November 20, 2009. Accessed January 3, 2014.

    National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed January 3, 2014.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.