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Cervical Cancer

Our Approach

Working together closely, a team of some of the nation’s top experts works together to plan your cervical cancer carefully when you come to MD Anderson’s Gynecologic Oncology Center. They customize your plan of action to be sure it delivers the most-advanced cervical cancer treatment with the least impact on your body.

Your personal group of experts, which includes highly specialized medical, surgical, radiology and gynecological oncologists, is supported by a thoroughly trained staff. They communicate and collaborate at every step to increase your chances for successful treatment for cervical cancer.

We also offer treatment for pre-cancerous changes of the cervix and perform cervical biopsies to investigate abnormal Pap tests.

Surgical Expertise

Surgery often is an integral part of cervical cancer treatment, and the surgeon’s skill can make a crucial difference in the success of these delicate operations. MD Anderson’s surgeons are among the most experienced in the nation in surgery for cervical cancer, giving them a higher level of expertise. Procedures available may include:

  • Minimally invasive procedures including robotic and laparoscopic hysterectomy
  • Radical hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, a minimally invasive procedure to determine the extent of cancer and help plan treatment
  • Fertility-sparing techniques, including radical trachelectomy, a highly specialized surgery that may help some women keep the ability to have children

Pioneering Advances

Over the past several years, MD Anderson has advanced cervical cancer care by leading and participating in several pivotal discoveries. For example, we led the clinical trial that demonstrated the superiority of treating cervical cancer with chemotherapy and radiation, instead of radiation alone. This changed the standard of care for cervical cancer and became the universally accepted approach. We continue to make progress toward helping women with cervical cancer by offering a range of clinical trials (research studies) for new agents.

And at MD Anderson you’re surrounded by the strength of one of the nation’s largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Minimally invasive cervical cancer surgeries, including robotic and laparoscopic hysterectomy
  • Fertility-sparing cervical cancer surgery techniques, including trachelectomy
  • Treatment for pre-cancerous changes of the cervix, including laser surgery
  • Expertise in the treatment of rare neuroendocrine cervical cancers
  • Specialized colposcopy clinic
  • Treatment and quality-of-life clinical trials

Cervical Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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Cervical Cancer Survivor Jackie Golson

Jackie Golson

"I had it all and I was miserable—but I found myself through cancer."

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Cervical Cancer Facts

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer (cancer that has spread outside the cervix) each year. It is one of the main cancers of the female reproductive organs.

The cervix is in the bottom part of the uterus (or womb, where a baby grows). It joins the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Most women who develop cervical cancer are between 20 and 50 years old. It used to be one of the main causes of death from cancer in the United States, but the widespread use of the Pap test has helped doctors find cervical cancer in the early stages. Cervical cancer often can be treated successfully when it is caught and treated early.

Before cervical cancer appears, the cells of the cervix go through precancerous changes, known as dysplasia. Usually this is a slow process that develops over many years.

An annual Pap test looks for these changes. If precancerous cells are found, they often can be removed.

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which usually is passed from person to person by sexual contact. The American Cancer Society says about 75% of men and women who have had sex will be exposed to HPV at some point.

In most people, the immune system clears the virus before it is detected or causes cells to change. However, in a small percentage of people the virus will remain and cause cell changes that may develop into cancer.

Cervical Cancer Types

Cervical cancer is usually one of the following types, which are named for the type of cell where they develop. The most common types of cervical cancer are:

Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer): This is the main type of cervical cancer and is found in 80% to 90% of cases. It develops in the lining of the cervix.

Adenocarcinoma develops in gland cells that produce cervical mucus. About 10% to 20% of cervical cancers are adenocarcinomas.

Mixed carcinoma (cancer): Occasionally, cervical cancer has features of squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

In rare instances, other types of cancer, such as neuroendocrine (small cell/large cell cervical cancer), melanoma, sarcoma and lymphoma, are found in the cervix.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center