Understanding Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer is a malignant tumor developed from the lining of the cervix (85% of cancers are squamous cell carcinomas and 15% adenocarcinomas). The main risk factor is the prolonged presence of the papillomavirus in the cervix.

The Development Of Cervical Cancer:

Cervical cancer develops from cells in the cervix.

The cervix is the narrow, lower part of the uterus connecting the body of the uterus to the vagina. It consists of two parts: the endocervix on the side of the body of the uterus and the exocervix on the side of the vagina.

Almost all cancers of the cervix are carcinomas, cancers that arise from the superficial layer (or epithelium) of the mucous membrane lining the cervix.These carcinomas are divided into two types:

  • squamous cell carcinomas (85% of cases): they develop in the exocervix;
  • adenocarcinomas (15% of cases): these appear in the endocervix.

The female genitalia

female genitalia

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors include:

  • early first sexual intercourse,
  • multiple partners,
  • an infection of the partner(s) with HPV or other sexually transmitted infections,
  • the tobacco.

 What causes?

In nearly 99% of cases, this cancer is linked to a persistent infection with the human papillomavirus or HPV. This highly contagious virus spreads through simple sexual contact.

 What prevention?

Only vaccination against HPV makes it possible to prevent the appearance of precancerous lesions and, therefore, in the long term, cancers of the cervix, provided that it is intervened before the first sexual intercourse. It also makes it possible to avoid other cancers linked to HPV, some of which can affect men: certain (otolaryngological) cancers, of the penis, anus, vulva and vagina, as well as condyloma (or genital warts), benign lesions linked to infection by the papillomavirus.

What diagnosis?

Since precancerous lesions evolve silently, screening by cervical smear, which consists of taking superficial cells from the cervix with a small brush, remains the best way to detect them. And this, whether or not the women are vaccinated, because vaccination does not protect against all HPV viruses with high oncogenic risk.

What are the treatments ?

The treatments offered are:

  • surgery,
  • radiotherapy,
  • chemotherapy.
    These examinations can be carried out in isolation or in combination according to the protocols decided. “Conization” removes only part of the cervix.