As far as cancers
of the female reproductive system
are concerned, cervical cancer is the most common form diagnosed in younger women and the second most common in all women. The human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease, is often a precursor to cervical cancer. Frequent and properly analyzed pap smears
are useful in early detection of cervical cancer.
Aside from the human papilloma virus, certain abnormal cell formations are sometimes found in the cervix which may be precursors to cervical cancer. These include dysplasia (cells that look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (a general term for the growth of abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix - numbers from 1 to 3 may be used to describe how much of the cervix contains abnormal cells), and squamous intraepithelial lesions (abnormal growth of squamous cells on the surface of the cervix - changes in the cells are described as low grade or high grade, depending on how much of the cervix is affected and how abnormal the cells appear). In women exposed to DES
in the womb, these conditions can develop into clear cell adenocarcinoma
, a cancer that begins in cells that line the cervix and that has glandular properties.
- Cervical Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma
- DES / Diethylstilbestrol
- Pap Smear Errors