cervical cancer

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(cervical carcinoma) cancer of the neck (cervix) of the uterus. The tumour may develop from the surface epithelium of the cervix (squamous carcinoma) or from the epithelial lining of the cervical canal (adenocarcinoma). In both cases the tumour is invasive, spreading to involve surrounding tissue and subsequently to neighbouring lymph nodes and adjacent organs, such as the bladder and rectum. Cancer of the cervix can be detected in an early stage of development (see cervical screening) and diagnosis is established by biopsy (see colposcopy). In carcinoma in situ (see cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) the tumour is confined to the epithelium: there is no invasion of surrounding tissue but, if untreated (by local ablation, LLETZ, or surgical excision), it can become invasive. Common early features of invasive disease are abnormal vaginal bleeding and a foul-smelling blood-stained vaginal discharge. Treatment is by surgery with or without postoperative radiotherapy. See also human papillomavirus.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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