Cervical Cancer Diagnosed and Treated by Mercy's Gynecologic Oncologists
When cervical cancer is suspected, it is important to choose the best doctors for proper diagnosis and treatment. At The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy, our physicians understand the complications and choices involved with a cervical cancer diagnosis. Women in Baltimore and across the Mid-Atlantic region turn to Mercy's doctors for the diagnosis and treatment of all female reproductive tract cancers, including ovarian, cervical, uterine or endometrial, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.
About Cervical Cancer
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
In the early stages of cervical cancer, there are no visible symptoms. In the advanced stages of cervical cancer, common symptoms include irregular vaginal bleeding, abnormal discharge, pain in pelvic area, legs and back, discomfort while urinating, and blood in the urine.
Cervical Cancer Screening
The most effective method for cervical cancer screening is the Pap smear, which should be conducted as recommended by your doctor.
The Pap smear involves scraping some cells from the cervix and evaluating them for abnormalities. The Pap smear does not confirm the presence of cervical cancer, rather it confirms the presence of cervical dysplasia, a condition that can be a precursor to cervical cancer. Should cervical cancer be suspected because of abnormal Pap smear results, additional diagnostic tests, including a biopsy and pelvic examination, may be recommended to determine if there are any serious abnormalities in the pelvic region.
Stages of Cervical Cancer
At The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy, our doctors are among the Baltimore region's best doctors in determining the stages of cervical cancer. The approach to treatment depends upon the cervical cancer stage. The stages of cervical cancer are:
- Stage I - cervical cancer is located only in the cervix
- Stage II - cervical cancer is in the cervix and uterus
- Stage III - cervical cancer has spread to the pelvic wall and the lower portion of the vagina
- Stage IV - cervical cancer has spread other areas, including bladder, rectum, lung, intestines, liver, and bones
Cervical cancer is treatable and, in many cases, curable when diagnosed in the early stages.
Treatment of cervical cancer is dependent upon the tumor size, invasiveness, and location.
In the early stages of cervical cancer, a simple hysterectomy is performed, which is the removal of the cervix and uterus. For advanced stages of cervical cancer, a radical hysterectomy is performed, which is the removal of not only the cervix and uterus, but also part of the vagina and lymph nodes. Hysterectomies can prevent cervical cancer from reoccurring; however, it restricts women from becoming pregnant.
Radiation is also an option for early stage cervical cancer. Radiation treatment to kill the cervical cancer cells can include either using high-energy beams focused on the cervix area or placing radioactive devices inside the body near the cervix. Chemotherapy is another treatment option that can be used alone or in combination with radiation to kill the cervical cancer cells.
Because of the emotional effects cervical cancer can present for women, especially of child-bearing age, our doctors work individually with each woman to develop a plan that effectively treats cervical cancer.