Small cell cervical cancer, also known as small cell cervical carcinoma or small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, is a rare type of cancer but has many negative impacts on patients. Around 3% of cervical cancers are of this type. So, what causes the disease, and how to diagnose and get rid of it? Alternative-cancer.net is here to shed light on your question.
What is small cell cervical cancer?
Small cell cancer develops in the hormone-producing cells of the neuroendocrine system. It can quickly grow and leave serious impacts on the diagnosed people. Compared to the common types, this one is more likely to uncontrollably spread to the lymph nodes and other body areas.
In the United States, there are about 11,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer each year. A rough estimate is that only about 100 of these will be small cells. Most women with cervical cancer will have either squamous cancer (80% to 85%) or adenocarcinoma (15% to 20%).
Small cell cervical cancer symptoms
Just like other types of cervical cancer, the symptoms of this type can range from the most common one, which is bleeding from the vagina when you’re not in your period to:
- pain or discomfort during sex
- changes to vaginal discharge
- unexplained and abnormal pain in your lower back. In some cases, the pain can happen between your hip bones.
It is important to remember that these symptoms might be common. They do not completely translate into you having small cell neuroendocrine cervical cancer. However, it’s a good practice for any woman to pay a visit to the medical staff for a more appropriate examination.
Diagnosing small cell cancer of the cervix
Depending on your current symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend a visit to the hospital for tests. This is because small cell cancer can be ruled out through cervical screening. Alternatively, you may have to take a colposcopy. It is a test to closely look at the cervix using a special type of magnifying glass. First, your specialist doctor or nurse takes several samples of any abnormal areas. Then, they’ll send these patterns to the lab to investigate under a microscope. If you’re diagnosed with small cell cancer, then you have to take some tests to stage your cancer, including:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- PET-CT scan
Your medical staff may refer to the staging system (similar to other common types of cervical cancer) – the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging system. According to FIGO, there are 4 stages. Specifically, stage 1 is the earliest and the cancer tissues are still within the cervix while and stage 4 is when it has spread to the rectum and/or bladder.
Treatment for small cell cervical cancer
Compared to the main types, treatment for small cell cervical is quite different. To get rid of it, you have to take a combination of treatments based on the size of the cancer tissues and your overall health and fitness.
- Limited disease (the cancer tissues have not spread to other body organs): you usually have surgery to eliminate all small tumors. After surgery, you will start chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to complete the treatment procedure.
- Extensive disease (the cancer tissues have already spread to other organs): you’re likely to take both chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time.
Coping with cervical cancer
Coping with cancer is no easy feat for both diagnosed people and their caregivers, be it practically or emotionally. Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix and mainly affects sexually active women between the age of 30 and 45. Due to the sensitivity of the illness, many women choose to ignore and are shy to seek help from others, which exacerbates the symptoms.
Hence, it’s vital to raise awareness of the disease and show support to patients. For instance, you can uplift the spirits of diagnosed women, spread knowledge and reduce social stigma with awareness shirts like this:
To better cope with what happens, you need to be well-informed about the disease and its symptom. Alternativecancer.net is where you can have authorized information and important data to monitor your situation. Besides, you will have regular checkups once you finish your treatment. Your doctor will examine you and ask about your general health. This is your chance to tell your doctor if anything is worrying you or ask relevant questions.
The small cell cervical cancer survival rate is around 66% for all stages. However, your outlook also largely depends on how far cancer has spread, your overall health, age, and how well cancer responds to treatment, and other factors as well.