What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer occurs when cancer develops in the cervix, which connects the vagina and the uterus. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer type for women with 12.8% of women being diagnosed throughout their life. Even though most people think of women when it comes to cervical cancer, roughly 1% of patients are male.
Over 268,000 new cases last year alone. 67% of cervical cancer patients have the subtype HR+/HER2, which makes it the most common by far considering the next most common subtype being HR-/HER2, which includes about 10% of the patient population. The two subtypes of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The five-year survival rate for cervical cancer patients is Nearly 66% which is slightly lower than the average five-year survival rate for all cancers (70%).
Cervical Cancer Symptoms
In early-stage cases, symptoms are often not present for cervical cancer patients. For those that do develop symptoms, they may include:
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Unusual discharge or bleeding from the vagina
- Pain during sex
- Menstrual periods that last longer or are heavier than normal
Symptoms that can occur in advanced stage cases of cervical cancer:
- Leg swelling
- Urination and bowel movement issues
- Urine containing blood
What Causes Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer occurs when the DNA of cells in the cervix is altered through a gene mutation, which can be developed over one’s lifetime or inherited from family members. The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause for cervical cancer, which is a common sexually transmitted virus. HPV causes specific mutations in two tumor suppressor genes p53 and Rb. Not all people who have HPV will develop cervical cancer, but it greatly increases your risk.
Cervical Cancer Risk Factors
Unlike other cancer types, there is one risk factor that causes a majority of cervical cancer cases. Especially in countries without a proper vaccine, HPV is the biggest risk factor directly leading to cervical cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Giving birth to multiple children
- Using the oral form of contraceptives over a long period of time
- Many sexual partners
- Not practicing safe sex
Cervical Cancer Prevention
There is no way to completely rid of one’s risk to developing cervical cancer, but the HPV vaccine can greatly reduce your likelihood of cervical cancer. Also, follow screening guidelines so that if cancer does develop, it is caught when precancerous or the early stages.
The pap smear test is the most common form of screening for cervical cancer. This test involves gently scraping cells from the cervix to be tested for any abnormalities. Another common way to detect cervical cancer is a standard blood test. Oncologists use a plasma thermogram to indicate any presence of cervical cancer and will know the stage of the cancer.
Cervical Cancer Treatment
There are several forms of treatment that are common among cervical cancer patients. The type of treatment used typically depends on the stage of the cancer. These treatment options are:
- Radiation therapy
While there are multiple types of surgeries that can be performed, they usually consist of removing part of or all the cervix for later stages or attempting to remove only the cancerous cells by devices like electric currents or a scalpel. Clinical trials are also an option for cervical patients wanting to access the latest in new drugs and therapies.
Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials
There are approximately 400 clinical trials across the US for cervical cancer. With such an extensive list, many of them could be beneficial for you. Our team of patient advocates, who are oncology nurses, and our artificial intelligence-based clinical trial matching system will find the best option for you.
With just a few clicks, you can see your clinical trial matches now. Click here to use our advanced clinical trial match tool.
How Do We Help Cervical Cancer Patients?
Massive Bio offers an independent cancer treatment analysis as well as free clinical trial matching for cervical cancer patients. Our patient advocates work closely with patients to gather information on their current medical status, and then will provide a list of options from available cancer clinical trials close to your home.
We can also provide a comprehensive case analysis through our Virtual Tumor Board from cancer specialists. The Virtual Tumor Board (VTB) is comprised of highly specialized oncologists from nationally-recognized Cancer Centers of Excellence. In just 7-10 days after receiving your medical records, we can get you a treatment plan without having to travel far distances and use your valuable time.