Cancer is a disease in which what used to be normal cells inside the body start to grow without control. Most of the times these cells don’t behave normally and they’re functions are impaired. When this abnormal growing cells occur in the cervix, it’s called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and it connects the vagina with the uterine cavity (womb).
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer and the fourth leading cause of death in women worldwide. In 2008, estimated of 529,800 new cases were diagnosed and 275,100 deaths occurred worldwide due to cervical cancer. 86 percent of these cases occurred in developing countries, representing 13 percent of all cancers in women. The highest incidence of cervical cancer is on Africa, South America and South Asia. The incidence of cervical cancer ranks third in women of all ages, and second in women between the ages of 15-44 years. Latin American countries rank second overall on cervical cancer incidence for women of all ages, and as a result have high mortality ranges related to this disease. In Brazil alone, current estimates indicate that every year 24,562 women are newly diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 11,055 die from the disease. Similarly in Mexico, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women between 15 and 44 years old. Each year more than 100,000 women are diagnosed and more than 5,000 die from the disease.
Human papilloma Virus
It is well established that many demographic and socioeconomic factors, such as low socioeconomic class, low academic level, multiple sexual partners, sexual activity at a younger age, unprotected sex, and a high number of births per woman, all lead to a rise in the occurrence of the human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which contributes to the development of invasive cervical cancer. In 99 percent of all cervical cancer cases, oncogenic genes (high-risk genes) for HPV have been identified. HPV infection is considered a precursor for the development of cervical cancer, particularly in the presence of other risk factors. Although the vast majority of HPV infections resolve spontaneously, some are persistent and eventually progress to precancerous and cancerous lesions. Better detection methods to identify lesions at an earlier stage, as well as the need for better and cheaper treatments are keys to reversing this cancer trend, particularly in rural communities.
- The fifth most deadly cancer in women in the world, 80% of cervical cancer cases occur in developing countries
- 471,000 new cases every year
- 275,100 deaths Worldwide due to cervical cancer in 2008
- 35, 322 deaths in the Americas
- Economic loss in Latin America of US$ 3.3 billion per year
Classification of Pre-Cancerous and Cancerous Lesions
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), also known as cervical dysplasia and cervical interstitial neoplasia, is the potentially premalignant transformation and abnormal growth (dysplasia) of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. CIN is not cancer, and is usually curable, but in some cases it will progress towards cancer in the span of around 7 years.
Depending on several factors such as the type of HPV and the location of the infection, CIN can start in any of three stages, and can either progress, or regress.
Standard Treatment for Cervical Cancer
- Conization, Hysterectomy, Bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy, Pelvic Exenteration, Cryotherapy, Laser Surgery, Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP)
- Radiation Therapy
- Alternative Treatments
- Any Combination of Treatments