Early Stage Cervical Cancer Information
Cervical cancer usually has no early signs or symptoms. Thankfully, this cancer is easily detectable with simple testing beyond the routine pap examinations. When this cancer grows into the cervix but not outside of the uterus, it is said to be in Stage I. Treatment for this stage depends on what is best for the patient, and treatment options are discussed with the physician and patient prior to any surgical intervention.
Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women. Approximately 12,000 new cases of this cancer are diagnosed each year, and woman of Latin descent are 1.4 times more likely to die from this illness than non-Hispanic white women. This cancer is considered to be slow-growing, which means it normally takes long periods of time to progress through the stages.
Women are more at risk to develop cancer of the cervix if they skip the yearly routine pap examinations, have not been vaccinated against HPV, have a compromised immune system, are over the age of 30, have taken diethylstilbestrol during the 1960s to prevent miscarriage, or are of Hispanic or African American descent. HPV vaccinations are only available to those women who are under 25 and have not tested positive for the HPV virus during pap smear examinations. Additionally, women who are between 50 and 70 years of age are the most likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Women who are diagnosed with Stage I cancer of the cervix will likely have no symptoms. At this stage, the cancer cells have progressed through the lining of the cervix but do not extend outside of the uterus.
There are two groupings within the Stage I cancer diagnosis. Those who are diagnosed with 1A are generally treated with surgery. This surgery will involve a hysterectomy as well as removal of all cancerous tissue. Another surgical treatment option is conization. In this instance, only the diseased portion of the cervix is removed. The uterus remains in place. This is an appropriate option for the woman who wants to have children. In some instances, a woman may not be a good candidate for surgical intervention. In this case, radiation therapy can be performed.
When a woman is diagnosed in stage 1B, her cancer can be easily seen and palpated during examination. Women with this stage are those that have already been treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three. An appropriate course of action in these women depends on the size of the tumor. For those with tumors smaller than 4cm, hysterectomy and radiation therapy will be performed. Tumors that are larger than 4cm will require hysterectomy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy combined.
For women who are diagnosed with stage 1A cancer of the cervix, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. For those with stage 1B, the survival rate drops slightly, to approximately 83 percent.
Women who are diagnosed with this cancer have an excellent chance of survival, as long as the cancer is diagnosed early enough. Routine pap smear examinations are a must when trying to catch this cancer quickly. There are a few treatment options for women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early stage. With prompt treatment, chances for survival at this early stage are excellent.