Cervical cancer was once one of the most common cause of cancer related deaths among women worldwide. In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated that 12,900 women would be diagnosed and 4,100 women would die from cervical cancer in the United States. In the U.S., Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites.
Women who have cervical cancer that has been caught early have excellent survival rates–92 percent will survive through the first five years after their diagnosis. Cervical cancer will most often affect women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, although approximately 20 percent of cervical cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 65.
There are two main types of cervical cancer- squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma originates in the squamous epithelial cells usually found on the outer surface of the cervix. Adenocarcinoma originates in the glandular cells typically located higher in the cervical canal, which makes it difficult to detect through routine screening methods.
Role of the Gynecologic Oncologist
Gynecologic oncologists are trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancer. As such, they coordinate care for women with cervical cancer from diagnosis, to surgery, to chemotherapy, through survivorship and palliative care at the end of life. They serve as captain of the entire cancer care team of medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and genetic counselors, among others. Seek a specialist near you.
Patients, Caregivers and Survivors
As part of the overview section on cervical cancer, learn general information, including risk factors and symptoms, and what to do if your doctor suspects you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. SGO also has a useful toolkit for cervical cancer survivors. Additional resources have been developed to explain gynecologic cancer clinical trials and the phases involved.
- Primary cervical cancer screening with human papillomavirus: End of study results from the ATHENA study using HPV as the first-line screening test (February 2015)
- Use of primary high-risk human papillomavirus testing for cervical cancer screening: Interim clinical guidance (January 2015)
SGO Position Statements
- HPV Vaccination of Girls and Boys (December 2013)
- Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations (March 2012)
- Role of HPV Testing and HPV Typing in Cervical Cancer Prevention and Detection (May 2011)
In October 2013 Choosing Wisely®, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, released SGO’s Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question with specific tests or procedures that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in gynecologic oncology. SGO’s Choosing Wisely now has a number of patient resources and is mentioned in various online reference materials related to gynecologic oncology.