What’s invasive cervical cancer?

Print anything with Printful

Invasive cervical cancer is often caused by HPV infections and can be prevented with regular gynecological exams. Risk factors include unprotected sex, poor diet, smoking, family history, and immune system disorders. Symptoms may include abnormal bleeding and discharge. Diagnosis involves pap smears, vaginal exams, and biopsies. Treatment options include freezing or burning cancerous lesions, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Invasive cervical cancer is a very common malignancy in women of reproductive age. Most cases are suspected to result from complications of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. HPV gradually damages the lining of the cervix and can cause cancer within a few years of infection. Modern advances in clinical testing and an increasing number of women requiring regular gynecological exams have significantly reduced the rate of invasive cervical cancer in developed countries. The condition continues to be a leading cause of chronic disease and death in poor regions.

There are dozens of different HPV strands, but only a few of them increase the likelihood of developing invasive cervical cancer. Because HPV is transmitted through sexual activity, women who have multiple partners and have unprotected sex are at a higher risk of infection. Poor diet, smoking, family history and disorders that compromise the immune system can also increase the risk of HPV infection and any complications of cancer.

In most cases, the cervical tissue gradually undergoes changes that lead to cancer. Small patches of cells within the lining of the cervix may begin to grow abnormally and discolor, resulting in masses called squamous intraepithelial lesions. Over time, the lesions begin to engulf the underlying tissue and form deep-seated tumors. The transition from squamous intraepithelial lesions to invasive cervical cancer generally takes about a decade, although some cases progress much more rapidly.

Invasive cervical cancer may not cause any physical symptoms, especially when it’s in the early stages of development. If symptoms do occur, they may include excessive and irregular vaginal bleeding, a milky-smelling discharge, and pain during intercourse. It is essential to visit a gynecologist whenever abnormal bleeding or discharge symptoms are present so that a diagnosis can be made and treatment administered immediately.

An ob-gyn can check for signs of HPV infection by doing a pap smear, which involves removing cervical cells and testing them in a lab. Your doctor may also peer into your vagina using a specialized type of microscope to look for abnormal lesions. A tissue biopsy is also needed to confirm the presence of a tumor and determine its stage of progression.

If cancerous lesions are found before they have spread through the outer lining of the cervix, a clinical procedure may be done to freeze or burn them. Cancer that has already become invasive typically requires surgery to remove part or all of the cervix and uterus. If the tumors persist or the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, chemotherapy and radiation may be needed.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content