Cervical cancer is a malignant growth that starts in the cervix and is the fourth leading cause of cancer among women. The cervix is the opening of uterus by which a baby passes into the birth canal. In the United States almost 13,000 women are diagnosed and about 4,000 women will die of cervical cancer annually. The majority of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but older women can get cervical cancer as well.
There are many risk factors for cervical cancer, but the most important one is infection with the HPV virus. Infection with HPV 16 or 18 is associated with 70% of all cervical cancers. Risk factors for HPV infection are sexual activity at a young age, multiple sexual partners, HIV infection, and immunosuppression (for example organ transplant patients). A vaccine against HPV infection is available and often recommended for adolescent girls before their first sexual encounter. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include DES exposure in utero, multiple births, cigarette smoking, and long term oral contraceptive use.
Cervical cancer typically develops slowly over time. Before the cells become cancer they undergo detectable changes including dysplasia. Screening with a PAP smear and HPV testing can detect infection and or these changes, allowing for minimally invasive treatment before a cancer is formed. The vast majority of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have not had a PAP smear in seven years or more. It is thought that if every woman had regular screening exams that we would diagnose very few cases of cervical cancer or not even at all! Most women do not develop signs of cervical cancer until it is fairly advanced. Vaginal bleeding between periods, heavy periods, and continuous periods can be some of the symptoms of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is staged I-IV (like most cancer) based on tumor size or invasion, lymph node involvement, or the presence or absence of metastasis. Early stage cervical cancers (Stage I and early Stage II) can be treated with surgery with our without radiation. More advance cancers (late Stage II and Stage III) are treated with radiation and chemotherapy with or without surgery. Stage IV cervical cancer is typically treated with chemotherapy alone.
To learn more about cervical cancer treatment options contact Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers by visiting http://ironwoodcrc.com/ or calling 480-821-2838.
Cervical Cancer Awareness with Dr. Olyejar
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month but anytime is a good time to raise awareness of this disease. Although cervical cancer is preventable with screening and vaccination, sadly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
What is the cervix?
If you don’t know what the cervix is, you’re not alone. According to a British study, only one third of women could correctly label the cervix and other parts of the reproductive tract. The cervix is located on the bottom of the uterus. In childbirth, it’s the hole that the baby travels through from the uterus to the vagina. When a woman isn’t pregnant, the cervix plays important roles in menstruation and fertility.
How does cervical cancer form?
The cervix is made up of delicate tissue that is prone to cellular damage that can turn into cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes 70% of cervical and precancerous cervical lesions, according the World Health Organization but many things can cause it. During a Pap smear the doctor takes a sample of the cells of the cervix and examines them for tissue abnormalities that could turn into cancer or other disorders. According to Dr. Eric Olyejar, a radiation oncologist in Arizona, “If every woman had a regular Pap smear and HPV test on a regular basis, the disease would always be caught before it turned into cervical cancer. No woman should get cervical cancer.”
Like other cancers, cervical cancer is categorized by different stages by oncologists. Dr. Olyejar explains that, “Early detection of cervical cancer is critical. If we can catch the disease before it spreads to the body, it’s far easier to manage. The more time that cervical cancer is allowed to spread, the poorer the prognosis. This is a disease we know how to treat but I’d much rather prevent it from happening in the first place. Education, awareness, and routine testing can prevent cervical cancer.”
Patients with cervical cancer receive care that is individualized based upon the stage of the cancer and other factors. Treatments plans should be developed by a well-experienced multi-specialty team not only addressing the stage of the cancer, but also the needs of the patient. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers have assembled nationally accredited, board certified, cancer specialists from the leading university medical centers across the United States to provide cutting edge, comprehensive cancer care in neighborhoods throughout the greater Phoenix region.
To learn more about cervical cancer treatment options contact Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers at 480-821-2838.
Ironwood Providers Appear on Sonoran Living to Discuss Breast and Ovarian Treatment Options
Many factors are considered when choosing the best treatment for your breast and ovarian cancer. Your treatment plan is individualized to you and your specific cancer. As a breast or ovarian cancer patient, you should discuss these factors with your physicians. Genetic counselor Mandy Kass, gynecologist oncologist Dr. Mario Pineda, and breast surgeon Dr. Rashmi Vaidya recently recently appeared on Sonoran Living to discuss breast and ovarian cancer treatment options.
For more information about breast or ovarian cancer treatment call Ironwood Cancer and Treatment Centers at (480) 821-2838.
What is a Gynecological Oncologist in Arizona?
When cancer is suspected or diagnosed in the reproductive organs of a woman, a gynecological oncologist in Arizona is critical in helping guide treatment. A gynecologic oncologist is a physician in a highly specialized field of medicine dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system. They have completed fellowship training in gynecologic oncology after completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. They are the only surgical oncologists who are trained to give chemotherapy.
What cancer types does a gynecological oncologist treat?
Cancer of the Endometrium/Uterus
Cancer of Ovaries/Fallopian Tubes/Peritoneum
Cancer of the Cervix
Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor
Cancer of the Vagina
Cancer of the Vulva
Why choose Ironwood Women’s Center for my Gynecological Oncology needs?
At Ironwood Women’s Centers we believe in a multidisciplinary approach to treating gynecological cancer. The treatment team will include a gynecologic oncologist, a medical oncologist, nursing, social work, nutrition and genetic counseling to optimize outcomes for patients. Mario J. Pineda, MD, PHD, obtained his medical degree from University of Washington School of Medicine in 2007, having over 10 years of diverse experience. He completed his Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at Los Angeles County & University of Southern California Medical Center and Gynecological Oncology fellowship at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. He offers the latest treatments to treat gynecologic cancers and pre-invasive lesions.
Dr. Pineda is fluent in Spanish and will see patients for Gynecological Oncology at our Mesa (Arbor), Gilbert (Rome) and Chandler Ironwood Women’s Centers. Call (480) 821-2838 to schedule an appointment or for more information.