Cervical Cancer

Prevention and treatments for cervical cancers in Napa Valley

Cancers are classified based on where they originate. Cervical cancer begins in the lowest part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Like any cancer, cervical cancer is nothing to take lightly. Thankfully, however, this is one of the most preventable and successfully treatable cancers.

What you can do to prevent cervical cancer

Most cases of cervical cancer arise as a result of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a group of viruses that infect cells.

You may best know HPV as a wart. Genital warts should be treated by a doctor as developing one increases your risk of cervical cancer. The good news is that there are several HPV vaccinations, meaning you can prevent this disease from manifesting and increasing your risk of cervical and other types of cancers.

Other risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • A chlamydia infection
  • Obesity
  • Diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
  • Having three or more full-term pregnancies
  • Having a full-term pregnancy before age 17
  • A family history of cervical cancer

Cervical cancers are very treatable

When detected early, the survival rate for patients with cervical cancer is very high. Cervical cancer is usually detected through a Pap test, in which cells samples are collected from the cervix for lab study.

If cancer cells are discovered and the cancer is still in its early stages, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is a procedure that removes the uterus. This will not only remove the cancer entirely, but also prevent the chance of reoccurrence. Unfortunately, it also makes it impossible to become pregnant.

For women who want to preserve fertility, a cone biopsy may serve as effective treatment. In a cone biopsy, only a small portion of cervix tissue is removed. This treatment is usually effective so long as the cancer is still contained in one area.

In later stages of cervical cancer, hysterectomies accompanied by chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually required.