Untreated cervical cancer kills about 4,200 U.S. women every year. But can cervical cancer ever develop into uterine cancer?
Uterine/endometrial cancer takes about 12,100 lives in the U.S. every year.
The thing about cervical cancer, as opposed to uterine or endometrial cancer, though, is that it can be so easily and effectively caught in its precancerous stage – and very successfully treated.
The screening tool is the Pap smear, a simple and non-invasive office procedure that takes just minutes.
Problem is, many sexually active women just don’t bother to get a Pap smear.
And among those who do, some don’t keep up with it, letting repeat screenings lapse.
• A negative Pap smear should be repeated every three years. Speak to your physician about working out a screening plan based on your medical and lifestyle history.
• If a Pap smear is done with a simultaneous check for the human papilloma virus (HPV), and that too turns up negative, then the duo screening should be repeated in five years.
As a result of lapsed or avoided screenings, many cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed only when they are in an advanced stage, which means a poorer prognosis.
Cervical cancer can spread to other parts of the body, making it difficult to successfully treat.
The liver, lungs and bones are common metastatic sites for this disease.
Can Cervical Cancer Turn into Uterine Cancer?
“No, they are separate processes,” says Dr. Kate Killoran, OBGYN and medical advisor at Your Doctors Online, an online doctor chat site.
“Cervical cancer can extend into the uterus and involve the uterus if left untreated, but it is still cervical cancer.”
In fact, cervical cancer can’t morph into an endometrial pathology any more than, say, skin cancer can transform into prostate disease.
Nevertheless, women – especially those who are sexually active – should discuss Pap smear screening with their gynecologist, as well as vaccination against HPV.
Dr. Killoran has a private practice and is also a health coach at drkatemd.com. Your Doctors Online offers a free 7 day trial: Ask a doctor questions and get answers in minutes from anywhere 24/7. Learn more here.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.