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Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer

Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer may be associated with similar symptoms.  The diagnostic process may be similar as well. Treatment options vary, depending upon numerous factors, including but may not  be limited to: the individual’s condition and age,   the extent of the disease, and the preference of the gynecological surgeon.

What Is the Difference Between Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer?

Cervical Cancer is a type of malignant growth that affects the cervix uteri (lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina).

Ovarian Cancer is a type of cancer that originates from the ovaries. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) plays an important role cervical carcinogenesis.

Symptoms of Cervical and Ovarian Cancer

The following symptoms are associated with Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer.

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (not menstrual)
  • Painful intercourse with bleeding
  • Foul smelling bloody discharge
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Pelvic discomfort or pain
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased in waist line/ abdominal girth
  • Lack of energy
  • Low back pain


Your gynecologist will review your medical history and symptoms during a Q and A session. In addition, Cervical and Ovarian cancers may be diagnosed using the following modalities.

Pap Smear Test – This is the process of scraping a swab sample from the cervical lip using a cotton applicator which harvests cervical tissues for Papanicolau staining. The staining of the tissues will elucidate the microscopic slides specimen for dyplastic cells which connotes cervical cancer.

HPV DNA Test – This test is similar to Pap smear test in the collection of tissues, only this time tissues are subject to DNA testing to determine the presence of HPV infections. HPV infection is oftentimes associated with cervical cancer.

Colposcopy – This is a gynecologic procedure that involves women being diagnosed through a special magnifying instrument to reveal abnormal cervical cells. When the gynecologists discover abnormal cells, one may automatically perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Cervical Biopsy – This is the removal the samples of abnormal cells from the cervix using special biopsy tools and then submitting the samples to pathology laboratories for a confirmatory diagnosis. Conization is also a type of tissue removal system which punches a cone in the cervical lip for deeper tissue representation.

Imaging Test – Imaging tests, such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) will help doctors determine the extent of the cancer spread.

Visual Exam of Bladder and Rectum – A Visual Exam denotes the group of tests used to visualize the rectum called Proctoscopy and inside the bladder called Cystoscopy. One can actually assign stages in a cancer cell to determine the treatment and surgical options.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound makes use of a high frequency sound wave to produce recognizable images through a screen. The ovaries may be viewed by the ultrasound from the walls of the uteri using a built in probe in transvaginal ultrasound, showing its size and shape.

Surgery – An abdominal surgery may be elected to open the abdominal cavity, remove samples of ovary with an incision and collect peritoneal fluid for histopathologic examination. Samples may be sent to the pathologist right away. When cancer is discovered, surgical removal may be instituted promptly.

CA 125 Test – Ovarian cells have characteristic protein coat markers known as CA125. Women with ovarian cancer have very high levels of CA 125 test in their blood.

Other Possible Related Conditions?

Women presenting with foul smelling bloody discharge beyond menses may also suffer from vaginosis infection by Gardnirela. A regular Pap Smear Test can demonstrate inflammation by infection and differentiate it with the dysplasia of cervical cancer. Ovarian new growth will oftentimes present by increasing abdominal fluid retention which may also be found in Chronic Renal Failure. Renal function tests and ultrasound can easily catch the diagnosis.

Treatment for Cervical and Ovarian Cancer

The treatment for Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer greatly depend on several factors, including but not limited to: stage of the disease, health condition of the woman, and surgical preferences of the Ob-GYN surgeon. The following options may be applicable, for these two forms of cancer.

Surgical Treatment – Surgical intervention by hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) with bilateral removal of the ovaries during the early stages of cervical cancer and ovarian cancer may permanently cure the disease. In the Second and third stage of the cancer, a regional resection of the involved lymph nodes may be the more optimal approach and is more radical. In ovarian cancer, a surgical “debulking” of the ovarian cancer may relieve pressure symptoms in the abdomen.

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy makes use of chemical drugs infused intravenously to kill rapidly growing cancer cells. Chemotherapy may afford a certain level of a cure in both cervical and ovarian cancer. However, a pre-menopausal onset and infertility are common side effects- among other possible side effects.

Radiation Therapy – Radiation uses a high powered energy to kill cancer cells in both cervical and ovarian cancers. Radiation therapy may be used in combination with chemotherapy to kill more cancer cells. Radiation therapy may result in neuropathy of the nerves and infertility in some cases.


As with all cancers, the early detection and intervention generally leads to a better prognosis. An extensive diagnostic study should be performed to assess the extent of spread by the cancer and to plan out the proposed treatment procedures, such as chemotherapy. Gynecologic surgeries have by far proven to offer a good prognosis when intervention takes place early on.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.