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Cervical Cancer Risk Factors & Treatment

in NJ, CT, & MD

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the cervix, the narrow passage connecting the uterus to the vagina, become cancerous. Because the process by which cells go through precancerous changes and finally become malignant typically occurs slowly, cervical cancer often can be prevented or treated in its earliest stages, when there is the strongest likelihood of a good outcome.

The oncologists and other medical professionals at Regional Cancer Care Associates are equipped with the latest knowledge, technology, and techniques to treat cervical cancer effectively. With 25 convenient, community-based locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area, our offices provide the personalized and trusted health services patients deserve.

Cervical Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Closeup of doctor and patient sitting next to each other discussing treatment optionsThere are a few signs that may indicate the early phase, or Stage 1, of cervical cancer. This is the stage when cancerous cells are present in small numbers. These symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Unusual or excessive vaginal bleeding, especially during or after sex, between periods, or after menopause
  • Unusual or odorous vaginal fluid or discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Discomfort in the lower back, pelvis, or lower abdomen

These symptoms may be indicative of a number of gynecologic or other conditions rather than cervical cancer, but they merit prompt evaluation by a gynecologist or healthcare professional. Conversely, women with early-stage cervical cancer may not experience any symptoms, which is why it is important to have regular cervical screening tests – such as a Pap smear or cervical liquid-based cytology test – to identify the presence of abnormal cells or cancer in the cervix.

In more-advanced cases of cervical cancer, when the disease has spread throughout the cervix or has reached other parts of the body, symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort urinating, sometimes with blood in the urine
  • Backache, soreness, or swelling in the legs
  • Lower abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhea or painful bowel movements
  • General fatigue or feelings of being ill
  • Loss of weight and appetite

Other symptoms may occur, as well. Once more, while these symptoms may reflect many causes other than cervical cancer, all need to be evaluated promptly by a healthcare professional.

Cervical Cancer Risk Factors

There are many steps women can take to lower their risk of developing cervical cancer. For instance, routine cervical screening tests are vital to the detection and early treatment of precancerous conditions and cervical cancer. The earlier the disease is found, the sooner the patient can obtain treatment and the greater the survival rate. The five-year survival rate for all individuals who contract cervical cancer is 66%.

Conversely, some factors may increase a patient’s risk for developing cervical cancer, making preventative measures important to their health. These factors include:

Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Preventing infection with HPV, which is linked to the development of cervical cancer, and other sexually transmitted diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and chlamydia, can greatly reduce the chances of cervical cancer occurring.


Eliminating cigarette smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke is another way to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer. Smoking has been associated with an increased rate of the cancer.

Birth Control Pills and Multiple Pregnancies

Some evidence indicates that long-term use of oral contraceptives can heighten the risk of cervical cancer. Meanwhile, women who have had three or more full-term pregnancies may also have an increased risk of developing cancer of the cervix. It is important to talk with an Ob/Gyn or other gynecologic healthcare provider regarding the latest evidence on these subjects.

Cervical Cancer Treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

The optimal treatment strategy for cervical cancer depends on many factors, including the stage of the cancer and the person’s age and overall health. If cervical cancer is in Stage II to Stage IV, treatment options include:

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is one of the most common ways to treat cancer, including cervical malignancies. It employs high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Frequently, radiation therapy is administered in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy use cytotoxic drugs to kill cancerous cells. They drugs are injected intravenously or taken orally in pill form. Chemotherapy has been shown to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation treatment.


There are many types of surgery to remove cancerous cervical cells, with the choice of procedure based largely on the stage of cancer. Laser surgery is frequently used to treat precancerous cells and early-stage cervical cancer. Sometimes hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is necessary to treat cervical cancer.


Immunotherapies harness the power of the body’s immune system to identify and destroy cancerous cells. Immunotherapy may be used to treat cervical cancer that has spread extensively throughout the body or that has recurred after earlier treatment.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy involves the use of drugs that seek out and destroy cancerous cells with specific genetic mutations. These drugs target the cancerous cells and leave healthy cells intact. This is a newer treatment that is a component of precision medicine.

Seek Cervical Cancer Treatment Today

The oncologists and hematologists of Regional Cancer Care Associates believe that early detection and diagnosis of cervical cancer is the ideal pathway to the most effective treatment. Our experienced team serves patients with various cancers and blood disorders in offices located in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. Contact us today to learn more about cervical cancer risks, receive the latest treatments, obtain cancer care support, or request an appointment.

RCCA’s personalized, caring approach to helping you beat cervical cancer

Although you’re not alone in facing cervical cancer, no other woman shares your unique combination of health status, lifestyle, family situation and age. For these and many other reasons, your care at RCCA is equally unique. From your first appointment, through treatment, while managing side effects and during post-treatment care, your RCCA team will be dedicated to your very individual journey back to good health.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (844) 346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.


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