Currently Browsing:Cancer Center
The Center for Gynecologic Oncology provides compassionate care for patients with cervical cancer.
Pediatric and Adult Patients
The Clinic for Reproductive Health and Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital provides guidance on fertility preservation for cancer patients to help protect their future reproductive options.
The Cancer Imaging & Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging combines leading-edge technology and the expertise of specialty-trained radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer detection and monitoring, plus image-guided treatments for specific types of cancer.Request an Appointment
Call to request an appointment 617-724-9729
Currently Browsing:Obstetrics & Gynecology
Adult Patients Only
The Midlife Women’s Health Center at Massachusetts General Hospital brings together experts from more than 15 specialties to improve, promote and advance healthcare for women at menopause and beyond through research, collaboration and education.
The General Gynecology Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology delivers compassionate, expert care for the full range of gynecologic issues.Request an appointment online
Call to schedule an appointment or refer a patient 617-724-6850
The Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) Center at Massachusetts General Hospital delivers innovative, multidisciplinary care for a full range of gynecologic conditions including endometriosis, fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, ovarian cysts/masses, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and gynecologic cancers.
Request an Appointment: 781-487-3860Contact us to request an appointment or refer a patient Read MIGS patient stories
Currently Browsing:Radiation Oncology
Using cutting edge technology including intensity modulated radiation therapy, proton therapy, intraoperative radiation, and brachytherapy our team of dedicated radiation oncologists treat a wide variety of gynecologic malignancies.
Cervical Cancer: Introduction
What is cancer?
Cancer is when cells in the body change and grow out of control. To help you understand what happens when you have cancer, let's look at how your body works normally. Your body is made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Normal cells grow when your body needs them, and die when your body does not need them any longer.
Cancer is made up of abnormal cells that grow even though your body doesn't need them. In most cancers, the abnormal cells grow to form a lump or mass called a tumor. If cancer cells are in the body long enough, they can grow into (invade) nearby areas. They can even spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).
What is cervical cancer?
Cancer that starts in cells of the cervix is called cervical cancer.
Understanding the cervix
The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. It connects the uterus to the birth canal (vagina), which leads to the outside of the body. It's located between the bladder and the rectum.
Looking for precancer
Precancerous cells on the cervix are the first sign that cervical cancer may develop. These cells can be seen on a Pap test. They are cells that look abnormal, but are not yet cancer. The appearance of these cells may be the first sign of cancer that will grow years later. Treating these precancer cells can prevent cancer from growing. Precancer cells of the cervix often don’t cause pain or other symptoms. This is why regular cervical cancer screening is so important.
Types of precancer
Squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) is a term that refers to abnormal changes in the cells on the surface of the cervix. These changes can be found with a Pap test and are divided into 2 categories:
Low-grade SIL. This refers to early changes in the size, shape, and number of cells that form the surface of the cervix. They may go away on their own. Or over time, they may grow larger or become more abnormal, forming a high-grade lesion. These changes may also be called mild dysplasia or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 1 (CIN 1).
High-grade SIL. This means there are a large number of seriously changed cells that are precancer cells. Like low-grade SIL, these changes involve only cells on the surface of the cervix. The cells often don’t become cancer for many months, probably even years. But without treatment, they will become cancer. High-grade lesions may also be called moderate or severe dysplasia, CIN 2 or 3, or carcinoma in situ.
If abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix are not found and treated, over time they can spread deeper into the cervix, or to other tissues or organs. This is then called cervical cancer, or invasive cervical cancer. Cervical cancer occurs most often in women younger than age 50. Most cervical cancer is either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma.
The death rates for cervical cancer have dropped sharply as Pap screenings have become more prevalent. Today, most cervical cancer is found in women who have not had regular screenings, and in women who have not had any screenings.
Preventing cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer that doctors know how to prevent. There are 2 key ways to prevent cervical cancer:
Get regular Pap tests. These are done to find and treat any precancer cells as soon as possible, before they can change into true cancer.
Prevent precancer cells. You can do this by avoiding contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV), getting an HPV vaccine, and not smoking.
Talk with your healthcare provider
If you have questions about cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening, or how to prevent cervical cancer, talk with your healthcare provider. Your provider can help you understand more about this cancer.
Cervical Cancer Screening - 12/18/2009, Mass General
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released new guidelines for cervical cancer screening. Dr. Marcela Del Carmen from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service and Dr. Elizabeth Roth from the Women’s Health Associates at Mass General help put this in context.
The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.
The Marjorie E. Korff PACT program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides psycho-educational support for parents who are patients.
Marcela Del Carmen, MD, talks about your risk of developing cervical cancer, even as you age
Marcela Del Carmen, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center says that the risk for cervical cancer goes up, not down, as you age. Learn about your risk for cervical cancer, and the new guidelines that caution women to continue to get PAP smears into their 60s.