Cervical cancer


cancer du col de l'uterus

Cervical cancer is a malignant tumor, i.e. a group of your own cells who lost ability to repair themself or to die, and will then grow uncontrollably, invading nearby parts of the body.

Cervical cancer is the 11th cause of cancer for women. In France, this cancer concerns 3.000 women every year, predominantly women around 40.

Cervical cancer is mostly cause by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which develops slowly. HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. Smoking, HIV infections are contributing factors.


Cervical cancer is cause by HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which will infect cells on the cervix, becoming pre-cancerous cells. If left untreated, it can develop to a cervical cancer 10 years later.
Once installed, the tumor will get bigger, spreading abnormal cells to per-uterine lymph nodes, large vessels (aorta, vena cava) and to the other organs (metastases).

Cervical cancer stages:

Stage I : Tumor localized only on the cervix.
Stage II : Tumor with extra-uterine extension.
Stage III : Tumor extended to the pelvic wall or to the lower part of vagina.
Stage IV : Invasion of bladder, rectum or distant metastases (lung, liver).


Cervical cancer symptoms may include: vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourses, abnormal vaginal discharge (that may have mucus) and pain during sexual intercourses.

As part of your regular pelvic exam, you should have a Pap test every 2 to 3 years. This test allows showing abnormal cells changes; this is why today cervical cancer is reduced in frequency.


Treatment for most stages of cervical cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy with brachytherapy (radiotherapy where the radiation source is placed inside the vagina).
For example, at an early stage, surgery will be associated to radiotherapy.
For any more advance stage, chemotherapy will be mixed to radiotherapy; surgery will be performed in a second time.

Medical control

Meeting the doctors involved in your treatment is required every 4 months, during 2 years, then every 6 months during 3 years, and final every year.
Cervical cancer prognostic is usually good, as it grows slowly, and is usually detected at an early stage.

Last update: 10/2/2013