The American Cancer Society estimates that 14,100 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with cervical cancer, you are sure to have many questions about treatment and prognosis. At Beacon Cancer Care, we are ready to provide you with the information, resources, support, and compassion you need to help you through your cancer journey.
Cancer of the cervix occurs at the narrow opening between the uterus and the birth canal. Like all cancers, cervical cancer involves the uncontrolled reproduction of specific cells, which can ultimately create tumors. Most cervical cancers fall into one of two types: squamous cell carcinoma, which is the most common and involves the uncontrolled reproduction of the thin flat cells that line the outer part of the cervix, and adenocarcinoma, which involves the glandular cells which line the cervical canal.
Survival Rates for Cervical Cancer
The five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is about 66%, or two out of every three people who are diagnosed. However, as with most cancers, the earlier it is found and treated, the better the survival rate.
Medical professionals break cancer progression into stages, with Stage 0 describing the precancerous stage, where cells may be abnormal but have not progressed to being cancerous. At Stage 1, the cells are considered cancerous. The scale goes up to Stage 4, where cancer has metastasized to parts of the body distant from where it started. According to data compiled by the National Cancer Institute, when cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, usually through a cancer screening procedure such as a Pap smear, the five-year survival rate is significantly higher–about 92%. These early stages are when the cancer is localized and limited to the cervical tissue.
If cancer reaches a more advanced stage by spreading to nearby tissue outside the cervix, the five-year survival rate drops to about 58%. If cancer has metastasized, the five-year survival rate is about 18%. However, it is important to remember that these numbers are just averages. Every patient is different, and every cancer is different. Cancer specialists like the medical providers at Beacon Cancer Care will share these statistics with patients if desired to assist in making informed decisions about their care and preparing arrangements for their families and other affairs.
Treatment for Cervical Cancer
Several treatments are available for cervical cancer, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Often, a patient may undergo a combination of therapies.
At Beacon Cancer Care, our goal is to help patients craft comprehensive cancer care plans. We will also make proper referrals and coordinate care with surgeons and other subspecialists if appropriate. We have close working relationships with other regional and national cancer centers, such as the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the University of Washington, the Mayo Clinic, and the Huntsman Institute. We can also assist patients in gaining access to cutting-edge clinical trials if they meet the eligibility criteria.
In addition to cancer treatment, our comprehensive care also includes many supportive services for our cancer patients and their caregivers, including nutritional, rehabilitative, and financial support and counseling. These services can help you cope with your cancer and the infirmities and problems that often accompany an extended period of cancer treatment.
As is the case with any type of cancer, a diagnosis of cervical cancer can be full of emotion and challenge. At Beacon Cancer Care, we will provide the support and resources you need to beat the odds. Contact Beacon Cancer Care today and talk to one of our compassionate team members about how we can help.