New Information about Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Nadeem Abu-Rustum, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery for the Gynecology Service

Nadeem Abu-Rustum, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery for the Gynecology Service

Although cervical cancer is a major cause of illness and death in developing countries, the number of women with invasive forms of the disease has fallen dramatically in the United States and other industrialized nations since the introduction of screening techniques such as the Pap smear and liquid-based cytology.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, our recently revised screening guidelines for cervical cancer reflect the latest thinking on who should get tested and how frequently testing should occur. Our guidelines also emphasize the value of getting vaccinated against the strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer. (Editor’s note: On October 5, 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that it had expanded the approved use of the Gardasil 9 vaccine to include women and men aged 27 through 45 years. )

In addition, we have updated our informational guide to cervical cancer, which describes our comprehensive and multidisciplinary team approach to diagnosing and treating the disease. We provide the women who come to us with compassionate and leading-edge care, as well as comprehensive follow-up care offered as part of our Survivorship Initiative.

Advanced Treatment

More than one in ten women who come to Memorial Sloan Kettering with early-stage cervical cancer do not need more than a basic surgical procedure such as loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) or cone biopsy (conization) to fully remove cancerous changes.

Our innovative approach to measuring the potential spread of cancer to lymph nodes in the pelvis – sentinel lymph node mapping – has enabled us to spare many the long-term discomforts and complications that can happen with overtreatment.

For women with recurrent cervical cancer, the surgical options we provide lead to outcomes that are among the best in the world. We have made refinements in the use of minimally invasive robotic technologies during operations, for example, that have benefits such as decreased pain after surgery, better cosmetic results, and faster recovery.

Our researchers are also working to develop better chemotherapy agents to treat women with advanced cervical cancers, including novel investigational drugs available only through our clinical trials.

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Preserving Fertility

For young women who are otherwise healthy and concerned about preserving their ability to become pregnant and have children, we can often provide the option of undergoing a fertility-preserving radical trachelectomy.

This innovative technique was pioneered by a team of Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeons led one of our gynecologic surgeons, Nadeem Abu-Rustum.

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Commenting is disabled for this blog post.

I am 73 years old. I have had occurances of HPV which have not appeared in the past 3 years. How often should I have a pap smear

Dear Carla, we are not able to answer personal medical questions on our blog. We recommend that you check with your doctor for recommendations on how often you should receive a Pap smear. You might also want to contact the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 800-4CANCER or to get more information on this topic. Thanks very much for your comment.

Is cervical cancer classified as only early or advanced? For example, of the 50 women you treat with invasive cc, why are some of them be considered early stage cc just the same as the 150 who have non invasive cc?

My son Jonathon is friends w/ your children and we are neighbors.So honored to know of your discovery!Bravo!

Okay, so I know that this may be coming a little late, but I recently stumbled across this infographic that had been created for cervical cancer awareness. Like many forms of cancer, cervical cancer can be treated if caught early enough but this often requires women to become more proactive with their own health (whether it be going in to be screened or just taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle). I think this a great way to get more people to engage with information that they might otherwise ignore and I wanted to share the link here: