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Histopathology Of Cervical Cancer

Here I am discussing the histopathology of cervical cancer.

First, 85% of cervical cancer issquamous cell carcinoma, as the pathologist classifies them. For comparison here is a normal histology finding of the cervix.

This is the area of the cervix that is visible to the physician’s eye when he does a speculum examination and normally this is covered with cells called “squamous cells”. At times the lining of the cervical canal, which has adenoid glands, grows a bit out of the canal onto the outside surface of the cervix. Second, when this tissue turns cancerous, the pathologist diagnoses “adenocarcinoma“, which happens in about 12% of all cervical cancer cases.

Poorly differentiated cervical cancer

Third, the remaining 3% of cervical cancer is diagnosed by the pathologist as “adenosquamous cell carcinoma“. As the name says, they are a mixture of both malignant adenocarcinoma and malignant squamous cell carcinoma. These cancers are what the pathologist calls “poorly differentiated carcinoma“, meaning that they are fast growing tumors with a cancer survival rate that is very poor.

Histopathology Of Cervical Cancer

Histopathology Of Cervical Cancer

To complicate the picture, there are three grading types of squamous cell carcinoma: a well-differentiated, a moderately differentiated and a poorly differentiated one . Each of them has a different grade of malignancy with the most mature cell type having the best longterm survival and the most immature (poorly differentiated) type having the worst survival.


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2. Cancer: Principles&Practice of Oncology. 5th edition, volume 1. Edited by Vincent T. DeVita, Jr. et al. Lippincott-Raven Publ., Philadelphia,PA, 1997. Chapter on gynecological tumors.

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Last modified: September 12, 2019

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.