Every year, over 250000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The statistics also show that yearly, 50 000 European women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 25 000 die from this disease. Even if cervical cancer is considered to be a rare disease, the survival rate 5 years after the diagnostics is of 45%. Unfortunately, the big majority of the patients are diagnosed very late, that’s why an early diagnostics of cervical cancer raises the chances of survival.
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix — the lower part of the uterus (womb). This is sometimes called the uterine cervix. The fetus grows in the body of the uterus (the upper part). The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).
The cervix has two different parts and is covered with two different types of cells.
- The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix and is covered with glandular cells.
- The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervix) and is covered in squamous cells.
These two cell types meet at a place called the transformation zone. The exact location of the transformation zone changes as you get older and if you give birth.
Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone. 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. These changes can be detected by the Pap test and treated to prevent cancer from developing (see Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented?).
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. It usually takes several years for cervical pre-cancer to change to cervical cancer, but it also 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 cervical pre-cancers can prevent almost all cervical cancers. Pre-cancerous changes and specific types of treatment for pre-cancers are discussed in Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
What are the types of cervical cancer?
Cervical cancers and cervical pre-cancers are classified by how they look under a microscope. The main types of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
- Most (up to 9 out of 10) cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers develop from cells in the exocervix and the cancer cells have features of squamous cells under the microscope. Squamous cell carcinomas most often begin in the transformation zone (where the exocervix joins the endocervix).
- Most of the other cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinomas are cancers that develop from gland cells. Cervical adenocarcinoma develops from the mucus-producing gland cells of the endocervix. Cervical adenocarcinomas seem to have become more common in the past 20 to 30 years.
- Less commonly, cervical cancers have features of both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. These are called adenosquamous carcinomas or mixed carcinomas.
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 are the treatment options for cervical cancer?
Treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma in situ include:
- Laser surgery
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP/LEETZ)
- Cold knife conization
- Simple hysterectomy (as the first treatment or if the cancer returns after other treatments)
Treatment options for adenocarcinoma in situ include:
- Cone biopsy (a possible option for women who wish to have children). The cone specimen must have no cancer cells at the edges, and the woman must be closely watched after treatment. Once the woman has finished having children, a hysterectomy is recommended.
Radiotherapy uses high level radiattion to destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy (chemo) uses anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach all areas of the body, making this treatment useful for killing cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemo is often given in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a recovery period. There are a few situations in which chemo may be recommended for cervical cancer.
Where to seek help for cervical cancer?
AT-MED is a company specialized in finding the right doctor and hospital or clinic for any patient seeking treatment for cervical cancer. Call us you will receive a free second opinion together with a personalized treatment plan for your exact needs. By working with several clinics and hospitals in Austria we can make sure we can find the most suitable treatment. We will translate your medical record and be next to you every step of your treatment.
Doctors treating you in Austria through AT-MED
Prof. Univ. Dr. Christian Singer, obstetrician-gynecologist
Prof. Univ. Dr. Johannes Drach, internist, specialist in haemato-oncology
Prof. Univ. Dr. Schillinger Martin, cardiologist, angiologist
Prof. Univ. Dr. Ulrich Steinhart, obstetrician-gynecologist
Dr. Rainer Kotz, Orthopedics and endoprotection
When you contact AT-MED please keep in mind the following:
- Every medical consultation costs 150 – 300 EUR depending on the doctor’s specialization and the complexity of your medical case.
- Imagery interpretation costs 150 EUR.
- In order to answer your request in maximum 48 hours we need your complete medical record with information about previous interventions, treatments and therapies, smoking habits, allergies as well as important medical information about 1st degree relatives.
- Please send the entire archived file in a single e-mail (to firstname.lastname@example.org). Sending files in multiple e-mails as well as in several Whatsapp conversations slows down the diagnose process.
- For emergencies please call directly at 0786787878, at any hour.