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Cervical Cancer - symptoms, treatments and therapies

Cervical cancer - Symptoms, treatments and orthodox and complementary therapies

This cervical cancer overview and associated articles will give you everything you need to know to help you increase your personal odds of beating cervical cancer - the symptoms, the diagnosis and all the latest cancer options for cancer treatments and complementary cancer therapies - from cancer drugs and chemotherapy to surgery, radiotherapy and even alternative cancer treatments. We will even cover the causes and cervical cancer prevention, particularly looking at what you might do to restrict an HPV infection.

This article has been compiled by Chris Woollams from worldwide research and expert sources.*

Read the whole article below or just select the part(s) that you are interested in from the list below and click onto that page. Also have a look at the latest information by clicking here.

Cerv1The Cervix is the lower part of the womb, the entrance to the womb at the top of the vagina. The womb is a muscular organ, the lining of which develops each month and then is shed. This latter action is most commonly called a period. Womb, or Endometrial cancer, is covered in detail elsewhere on this web site.

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Cancer of the Cervix

Approximately 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer per year with the 35 55 age group the most vulnerable. Most commonly it occurs in one of two forms: Squamous cell carcinomas (80 per cent) develop from the cells on the surface of the cervix; adenocarcinomas (20 per cent) develop from the glandular cells of the cervix wall.

This is a very slow growing cancer and can take years to develop. During that time abnormal cells will develop first. These are not cancer cells but are often called pre-cancerous cells, which is actually slightly inaccurate and misleading as not always do these pre-cancerous cells turn into the full-blown thing. And anyway they can be treated.

The condition where a woman has pre-cancerous cells is called dysplasia, and the cells are technically termed cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia. Because the term pre-cancerous is so misleading, I am going to simply call them rogue cells instead.

So cervical cancer invariably goes through a stage of first having rogue cells present; but not all such rogue cells ever become cervical cancer.

Which is why testing to find out if any rogue cells are present is so important. It is called

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Cervical Cancer screening

Have you ever watched someone do something and thought, Why do they do it that way? It would be so much easier and cheaper to do it another way. Welcome to Cervical Cancer screening in the UK.

Testing to find out if any rogue cells are present - screening - is so important

The most common test is the Pap Smear test where the woman lies on her back, legs apart, the vagina is held open using a speculum, and cells are scraped from the cervix using a spatula or a brush. These cells are then sent away to be examined under a microscope in a laboratory elsewhere and you are told the results days later. An annual Pap smear is the US recommendation three years after a girl first starts intercourse. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in the USA believe 84 per cent of cervical cancer deaths are already prevented because of such screening methods. However, this test is not infallible; for example, some adenocarcinomas are hard to detect in this way.

Pap Smear test are not infallible -a test using vinegar is!!

As we have covered several times in icon, there is a 100 per cent reliable test involving common  acetic acid (vinegar) and the use of a light which makes the rogue cells fluoresce. It costs next to nothing and you can be told the results straight away. Countries such as India who do not have vast health resources and rapidly implementing this system. Women taking part in these trials were 25 per cent less likely to contract cervical cancer and 35 per cent less likely to die from it.

You should have a screening test to determine whether the DNA of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is present in the cervix.

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HPV and cervical cancer

Human Papillomavirus is one possible reason for having rogue cells in the cervix. However it is not the only reason. This virus is sexually transmitted and has over 100 different forms or types, each of which is given a distinguishing number. There are 13 types believed to possibly cause cervical cancer - types 16, 18, 31 and 33 seem to pose the greatest risk; some types can even cause genital warts. One of the key issues is that there are often no signs that the man you are sleeping with is a carrier.

Cerv2Many, but certainly not all, healthy women who have sexual intercourse with more than one partner will be attacked by one form or other of the HPV virus at some stage in their lives. According to the US CDC, 6 million American women contract HPV virus every year. The good news is that only 14,000 actually develop cervical cancer, as in most cases the virus can be dealt with by the immune system within one year for most normal healthy males and females

Equally the type of HPV virus infecting may not lead to rogue cells in the cervix. So, the more dangerous strains of HPV virus only affect a very small proportion of all the women attacked and there may even be a genetic factor at play according to US research, anyway.

We have a page on Ellagic Acid  which you may wish to read. This highlights the role a strong immune system can play in your defence. In four separate research studies at South Carolina Medical School ellagic acid was shown to prevent HPV taking hold with cervical cells, helping the immune response to ward off the disease. What was the form of ellagic acid taken by the women? Half a cup of raspberries per day!

Importantly, in 2016 and 2017 several studies have featured self-help - natural bioactive compounds that can play a role against HPV and cervical cancer. 

1. The first study showed that Soursop (or Graviola) and ellagic acid could greatly reduce the chances of developing cervical cancer after HPV infection

Go To: Soursop and Ellagic acid can prevent a positive Pap smear 

2. Curcumin was shown able to prevent HPV creating cervical cancer cells.

Go to: Curcumin suppresses HPV in cervical cancer 

3. Finally, artemisinin, or Sweet Wormwood, has been shown capable of treating HPV in the body and to have anti-cancer benefits in cervical cancer.

Go to: Can Artemisinin kick out HPV and cervical cancer?   

The problem is that there has been all too much hype around HPV and cervical cancer, much of it stirred up by drug companies who want to vaccinate everybody, (boys included - but they have a different biochemistry)  and thus ´prevent cervical cancer´ (in 30 years time).  

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Not all Cervical cancer is caused by HPV

The vaccines are only effective against certain strains thought to cause about 70 per cent of HPV based cervical cancer. (Gardasil protects against strains 6, 11, 16, 18 and genital warts; Cervarix against 16 and 18 neither seem totally effective against all strains. For example, 31 and 33)

As Jackie Fletcher of JABS, the anti-vaccination campaign, points out there have been concerns expressed already on the inadequacy of the safety trials to date. And the vaccines have been tested with adult women. Who knows accurately about effectiveness, or safety in young girls and boys? We have already reported cases of hospitalisation in young girls in the USA and Australia post vaccination.

Go to: Vaccine crosses blood brain barrier linked to brain damage, death 

The vaccination is not a one-off and may well need repeating every 5 years

Cervical cancer now kills around 1,000 women per year in the UK. At least 10 per cent of under-aged girls are infected with HPV, and this rises to 40 per cent by age 24. Boys carry the virus but often without obvious signs (although genital warts are caused by an HPV strain).

Jackie Fletcher argues that since the Pap programme has been so successful to date, it would make more sense to offer the smear test to girls at a younger age. Again the Government would have a financial problem. But we have previously reported the greater accuracy and reduced cost of the vinegar and light method adopted in other countries, which is constantly ignored in the UK.

If every girl were vaccinated just once at age 12 this would make the vaccines into a 100 million pound business in the UK alone. But if boys were vaccinated and the vaccinations on both sexes were repeated every 5 years the business could potentially be worth 2 billion pounds to the two drug makers.

There can now be little doubt that some children have been seriously damaged by the vaccines.

Go To: HPV vaccine court cases starting in Japan

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Causes of Cervical Cancer

Cerv3A weakened immune system is one reason why women develop rogue cervical cells so smoking, poor diet, irregular sleeping patterns, lack of exercise and other lifestyle factors play a role. This can allow an infection by HPV to take hold. Indeed infection plus smoking does cause a significantly heightened risk.

 Statistically there is an increased risk for women who have been on the pill , have had more than one partner, had sex before they were 18 and those that have had a STD

Statistically there is also an increased risk for women taking the contraceptive pill long-term. Statistically there is an increased risk for women who have more sexual partners, and for women who first had sex before the age of 18. There is also some increased risk amongst those women who have had another Sexually Transmitted Disease such as chlamydia, or syphilis or gonorrhea.

The New England Journal of Medicine found that the use of condoms prevented 70 per cent of the possible HPV infections. Be clear Merck (Gardasil) and Glaxo (Cervarix) make vaccines they cannot treat a pre-existing condition (NCI)

According to Swedish researchers (Int J of Cancer 2006) allergy in your son is associated with a decreased risk of cervical cancer in the mother. The Karolinska Institute believes that cervical cancer has a strong hereditary component.

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Treating rogue cervical cells

Techniques have moved on. If the rogue cells are not serious, no action will be taken. In other cases they can be removed by localised surgery or, more commonly nowadays, by laser.

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Cervical cancer Symptoms

Early cervical cancer produces few symptoms. You may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding after intercourse or between periods, pain or discomfort during intercourse, or a vaginal discharge..

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Cervical cancer Diagnosis

Cerv4The doctor may use a colposcope to examine you for rogue cells in situ. As with a smear test, you lie down and a speculum holds your vagina open. A very small microscope with a light is then inserted for the doctor to examine cells inside you. He may then scrape a few away for testing. This is called a Biopsy.

Another method involves using a thin electrical wire (a loop) to cut away the infected area. Sometimes if the doctors cannot get to the infected area very easily you will need an operation, and a stay in hospital. They then perform minor surgery called a cone biopsy, so called because they take a group of cells in the shape of a cone.  Where possible the doctor might try to remove all the infected cells at that time.

You may need a longer stay in hospital if the doctors wish to confirm that there has been no spread to other tissues such as the womb or bladder or colon. They have a variety of tubes with lights and cameras on which connect to computers and TV monitors. They can then use these to insert into your womb (hysteroscope), bladder (cytoscope) or colon (sigmoidoscope) to see if any abnormalities exist. They may take some cells for a biopsy at the same time.

Other diagnostic tests they may use include:

  • RadiotherapyCT scan where a number of X-rays are taken to build up a 3D computer picture of whole areas of the body. It can take about 30 minutes. You may be given a drink containing a dye, a tampon containing a liquid and a suppository for the rectum all to make the pictures even clearer, and your doctor should discuss allergies, asthma and iodine concerns with you before hand.

  • MRI scan - similar to a CT scan, this uses magnetism rather than X-rays. You may be given an injection of a dye to allow more clarity in the images. You will be asked to lie still after sliding into a horizontal chamber. Some people find this very claustrophobic, especially as the tests can last for anything up to an hour. No metal objects (necklaces, pacemakers, metal plates from former operations) are allowed.
  • Pelvic Ultrasound - where a gel is used on your lower tummy area, then a (why is it always so cold?) metal rod is simply passed over the top. Harmless sound waves then bounce off internal organs and, via a computer, images show on a nearby TV screen. Occasionally the probe may be inserted into your vagina. You need to drink plenty of liquid beforehand to fill your bladder and make the images clearer.
  • Chest X-Ray a normal X-ray to see if there is any spread to other body areas.

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Stage and Grade

Stage measures the spread of the cancer; grade measures the aggressivity.

Stage 0 there are rogue cells but no cancer cells

Stage 1 the cancer is confined to the lining or the muscle wall.

Stage 2 the cancer has spread in the cervix.

Stage 3 the cancer has spread into the ovaries or abdomen.  It may have spread to adjacent lymph nodes.

Stage 4 the cancer has spread to other organs like the bowel, bones, lungs or brain.

Click here and read our article "What is Cancer"

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Cervical cancer Treatment

Fertility: A major factor is that treatments for cervical cancer often make it impossible to become pregnant in the future. Infertility is a distressing side effect of the normal treatment programme. However with younger women and early cervical cancer, doctors may be able to undertake to remove your cervix and surrounding lymphatic tissue whilst sparing your womb. They should be able to avoid the use of ovary-damaging radiotherapy, or fertility-damaging drugs. Please discuss this at length with your oncologist.


Surgery: Where the cancer has hardly spread and is in its very early stages laser treatment may be used, or electrical loop (LEEP Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) or cone surgery -  see the diagnosis section above.

Cryosurgery is another option where the cells are simply frozen and removed.

However in more advanced cases surgery can be major including a hysterectomy to remove the womb, and even the fallopian tubes and ovaries as well. Lymph nodes may also be removed at the same time. Despite being a major operation, it seems to be successful in most cases.

Certain US hospitals like MD Anderson in Texas are increasingly using Minimally Invasive Surgery to try to avoid infertility and long stays in hospital.

Radiotherapy may be used to kill off any remaining cancer cells, but there is a realistic fear of long-term damage from the beam on adjacent organs especially the bladder, bowel or ovaries.  Readers might like to read 20 things you should know about Radiotherapy LINK.  Where the ovaries receive radiation there is a real chance that you will become infertile.

Radiotherapy may also be used to shrink the tumour prior to surgery.

Radiotherapy is commonly internal radiotherapy or brachytherapy, although more normal external radiotherapy is also used.  In internal radiotherapy an applicator (a metal rod with radioactivity) is inserted much as a tampon would be.

The text books say that this method gives a high dose of radiotherapy to the local cancer cells, but negligible amounts to the organs further away.  However, those same books and leaflets talk about risks to visitors and how children are not even allowed in the same room on occasion!

Ask.  And obtain the full details to the point where you are happy that you fully understand the benefits and risks.

Hormone treatment: In certain instances where post-surgery there is a fear of an early menopause for younger women, HRT may be prescribed. You should read our numerous articles about this drug and its cancer risks under main articles in our Breast Cancer section and HRT increases Cancer Risk confirmed yet again.

Chemotherapy may be used where there is spread.  The most common drugs are cisplatin, mitomycin  and bleomycin.  For information on your Cancer Drugs and chemotherapy click here. Cisplatin seems to be the favoured drug either on its own or in combination with others.

There have been a number of clinical trials using cisplatin with cervical cancer. The NCI in the USA produced an overview concerning women who received either cisplatin or the combination of cisplatin, 5-flurouracil, and hydroxyurea during radiotherapy:

  • At 30 months of follow-up, 63 percent of women given cisplatin and 62 percent given the combination were alive without progression of disease
  • At five years of follow-up, 58 percent of women given cisplatin and 57 percent given the combination were alive without progression of disease,
  • At 10 years of follow-up, 46 percent of women given cisplatin and 43 percent given the combination were alive without progression of disease.

There has been some evidence of ear damage/deafness in patients using cisplatin. It seems linked with genetic factors (icon issue 2; 17. 2007 ).

Infra-red body

Hyperthermia/Ultrasound: In Germany a revolution is taking place. Peter Wurst (Charite Universitatsmedizin, Berlin) has been pioneering the use of hyperthermia and ultrasound. Stage III clinical trials have still to take place but results so far are exceptional. (Int. J. Radiat.Onc.Biol Phys 2006; 66: 1159-67). All the women in the trials to date had late stage cervical cancer but the tumours could not be removed. Hyperthermia and ultrasound (taking temperatures to 41 degrees in the tumour for 60 minutes, then allowed surgery on 14 patients. Subsequently 3 year survival was 93 per cent. Even the group who did not want surgery thereafter had a 79 per cent 3 year survival. Early days but at long last the UK is waking up to hyperthermia and ultrasound, particularly for Kidney and prostate cancers. You can find out more by clicking this link.

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Understanding your doctor

womb3Although we always try to write in easy-to-understand words, you may find that some websites, information leaflets, Doctors and Nurses use words that are not as easy to understand. For that reason we have compiled a list of all the technical words they commonly use called DOCTORSPEAK, the list turns it all into simple, easy to understand English. You can find this list of words by clicking here.

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Complementary cervical cancer therapies; Alternative cervical cancer therapies

CANCERactive is Europe´s Number 1 Integrative Cancer Charity. This website alone has more than 4,000 pages of information on it, either as articles or as news stories. More than 10,000 people visit our websites every day. We know from the feed-back we receive just how much we are valued by people trying to beat cancer.

We believe you can increase your personal odds of cancer survival by taking simple health-enhancing steps and adding both complementary cancer therapies and alternative cancer therapies into your mix of treatments. 

For example, Hyperbaric Oxygen, curcumin, calorie restriction, melatonin, probiotics and whole body hyperthermia have all been shown in research to make chemotherapy work better. The research is covered on this website. Surely it makes a lot of sense to use them in your personal cancer treatment programme?

We have a complete review of Immunotherapy telling you the accurate figures and what to watch out for. 

Go to: A complete review of Immunotherapy  

Then we have an article on how to improve the success of your radiotherapy (and reduce the potential side-effects) – all by adding complementary therapies. Our Guidelines on Diet and Exercise can be found through this link:

Go to: CANCERactive Guidelines on Diet and exercise 

Our recommended anti-cancer diet is the Rainbow Diet:

Go to: The Rainbow Diet

Like Hippocrates, we believe all cancer begins in the gut and that gut problems,yeast, viral and parasite infections are common constituents of cancer.

Go to: All cancer begins in the gut

But if you just want to look at the most comprehensive list of Complementary Therapies youcan find it here:

Go to: CANCERactive Complementary and Integrative cancer therapies

And if you want alternative cancer therapies start here:

Go to: CANCERactive Alternative cancer therapies 

Finally, if you want all this put together for you in one simple plan, why not look into having a Personal Prescription?

Go to: Personal Prescriptions with Chris Woollams

We don’t take one penny from any Pharmaceutical company, cancer clinic or supplements company. We have no vested interest. We just want to see you beat cancer. 

"If you are already thinking of supplementing with any of the above products, why not take a look at Our Natural Selection by clicking here."

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