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Cervical cancer forms in tissues of
the cervix (the organ connecting the uterus and vagina). It is usually a slow-growing
cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests (a procedure
in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope). Cervical
cancer is almost always caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a
group of viruses that can infect the cervix. An HPV infection that doesn't go away
can cause cervical cancer in some women. HPV infections are very common. These viruses
are passed from person to person through sexual contact. Most adults have been infected
with HPV at some time in their lives, but most infections clear up on their own.
Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ): In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the
innermost lining of the cervix. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread
into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.
Stage I: In stage I, cancer has formed and is found in the cervix only. Stage
I is divided into stages IA and IB, based on the amount of cancer that is found.
Stage II: In stage II, cancer has spread beyond the cervix but not to the
pelvic wall (the tissues that line the part of the body between the hips) or to
the lower third of the vagina. Stage II is divided into stages IIA and IIB, based
on how far the cancer has spread.
Stage III: In stage III, cancer has spread to the lower third of the vagina,
may have spread to the pelvic wall, and/or has caused the kidney to stop working.
Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB, based on how far the cancer has
Stage IV: In stage IV, cancer has spread to the bladder, rectum, or other
parts of the body. Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB, based on where the
cancer is found.
For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice.
Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done
to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard
treatment. Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical
trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment
or be among the first to receive a new treatment.
Search for clinical trials in Georgia.
Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/cervix. (Accessed