PET/CT & Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the female reproductive organ, the uterus, located in the woman’s pelvis. The role of the cervix is to connect the uterus and the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

Cervical cancer has been reduced in the United States ever since the Pap smear became a routine test for women and the number of deaths caused by cervical cancer in the United States declines by about 2 percent each year.

Cervical cancer begins with cells that are on the top surface of the cervix. There are two different types of cells on the surface of the cervix: Squamous epithelial cells (the lining cells of the outer part of the cervix) and Columnar epithelial cells (the lining cells of the inner part of the cervix).

In some cases these cells on the surface of the cervix can become abnormal. These cells, while not completely cancerous, are termed pre-malignant (pre-cancerous) cells, and may eventually become cancerous if not detected and treated early enough.

About 12,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer every year, with newly diagnosed women being between 50 and 55-years-old. Girls younger than 15-years-old rarely get cervical cancer.

There are certain factors that can make one woman more prone to developing cervical cancer than another woman. Some risk factors are out of a person’s control, and some are not: Risk factors for cervical cancer are listed below:

  • Sexual behavior:

Women who were younger than age 18 when they started regular sexual intercourse have a greater chance of developing cervical cancer.

  • Smoking:

A woman who smokes has a greater risk of developing cervical cancer.

  • Viruses:

Viruses that can be transmitted by sexual contact, such as the human papillomaviruses (HPV), are known risk factors for the development of cervical cancer.

  • Vitamin deficiency:

Deficiency of vitamins A and C can lead to a more pronounced risk of developing cervical cancer.

  • Immune system:

Women who are HIV positive have a greater risk of developing cervical cancer as HIV weakens the immune system.

  • Drugs:

Woman whose mothers took diethylstilbestrol (DES), when they were pregnant with them, have a greater chance of developing cervical.

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