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Review: Introduction to Cervical Cancer

Here is what we have learned from Introduction to Cervical Cancer:

  • Cervical cancer occurs when normal cells in the cervix change into cancer cells.
  • Each year, about 15,000 women in the United States learn that they have cancer of the cervix.
  • Abnormal changes in cells on the cervix are the first step in a series of slow changes that can lead to cancer years later.
  • Squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) is a general term for the abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix.
  • SIL can be divided into two categories:
    • Low-grade SIL: early changes in the size, shape, and number of cells that form the surface of the cervix.
    • High-grade SIL: there are a large number of precancerous cells;they look very different from normal cells.
  • Risk factors for cervical cancer, among others, include:
    • Relationship to sexual intercourse
    • Venereal diseases
    • Race—incidence higher in blacks and Hispanics
    • Low socioeconomic status
    • Poor genital hygiene
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Peak incidence over 40 years
  • Signs and symptoms include:
    • Post-coital or unexplained vaginal spotting or bleeding
    • Persistent vaginal discharge
    • Pelvic pain
  • Adenocarcinomas of the cervix have a worse prognosis than squamous cell cancers. Like all cancers, cancer of the cervix is much more likely to be cured if it is detected early and treated immediately.

Quiz

Go to the quiz if you want to test yourself on the material you learned in this section. The quiz is a self-assessment tool and no records are kept. The feedback will let you know if you have answered the questions correctly. You can take the quiz as many times as you want.

Click here to take the quiz.