Cervical Cancer

SIU School of Medicine

Jump directly to a section:

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Robotics

da Vinci® Hysterectomy: Surgery for Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?
The neck of the uterus, called the cervix, is lined with cells which, under ordinary circumstances grow, divide and are replaced on an ongoing basis. This process called mitosis occurs throughout the body to ensure that the health and function of the cells, tissues and organ systems are maintained at optimal levels.

Cervical Anatomy Image


However, when cells divide, the good, the bad, and the ugly are replicated in the subsequent daughter cells. Cervical cancer results from a mutation in the cellular lining of the cervix, which spreads via mitosis to normal tissues and organs. Should this abnormal cell division go undetected and/or untreated, tumors will form and extensive spreading of the cancer (metastasis) will likely occur.

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Cancer of the cervix rarely exhibits early symptoms. By the time advanced cervical cancer symptoms are apparent, the cancer has likely metastasized1 – in other words, it has likely replicated and spread to other parts of the body. When they do present, symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include:

  • Any unusual discharge from the vagina2
  • Bleeding or spotting beyond your normal period3
  • Pain after sex, douching or pelvic exam

 However, these symptoms of cervical cancer can also be indicative of many other conditions, most of them benign. Always consult your doctor for professional diagnosis of any medical condition.

Although most cervical cancer and early symptoms are seemingly invisible, there may be signs at the cellular level. These early signs are detectable via Pap tests administered in standard pelvic examinations. In fact, Pap tests can identify suspicious cellular activity long before it becomes a threat to a woman’s health.4

Benign cells may become misshapen and divide abnormally and at an accelerated rate. This may sound like a symptom of cervical cancer, as described earlier, but in fact the cervical cells may be benign or precancerous.5

Precancerous cells often behave like cancer cells. Indeed, they may turn into cancer cells if they are not treated. Typically, it takes several years for precancerous cells to mutate into cancer cells. So, rather than watching for symptoms of cervical cancer, your gynecologist will look for suspicious cell activity early during regular pelvic exams.

Scheduling regular pelvic exams is an important step women can take in order to prevent cervical cancer from ever presenting.

For more information visit http://www.davincihysterectomy.com

  1. American Cancer Society, Inc. www.cancer.org

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Ibid. 

  5. Ibid.

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System visit www.davincisurgery.com

Information provided by Intuitive Surgical