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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board


Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index


Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I have been reading about uterine cancer because my mother-in-law has atypical glandular cells suspicious of adenocarcinoma that turned up in a routine pap test. She is 79. I came over to this board and started reading about these type cells that some of you gals have had on your pap tests and some of the posts seem to be saying that atypical glandular cells are somehow related to cervical cancer. So, I am confused.

Does uterine cancer originate in the cervix and spreads up into the uterus? Or is cervical cancer and uterine cancer 2 different types of cancer?
Hmmmmm, this could be a bit difficult to answer.

There are two types of cells in the cervix: squamous and glandular. The outer cervix is made up of squamous cells and account for something like 70% of cervical cancers. The remaining 30something% is glandular in nature. The uterus is also made up of glandular cells. Sometimes cervical glandular cancer (aka adenocarcinoma) can spread to the uterus. Other times there can be cancer in the uterus without it being in the cervix. I don't know how or why, but that's the way I understand it.

Since the atypical cells were detected by a pap, I'm wondering what tests her doctor has ordered. I'd think a colposcopy, with an ECC (endocervical curettage), and a uterine biopsy are in order. That will check the outer cervix, cervical canal, and the uterine lining. It is possible that a D&C might be ordered to check the uterus more indepth.

Has she scheduled more appointments for tests?
She is going for a D&C after a nuclear stress test to make sure her heart is OK to be put to sleep. Doctor feels she cannot tolerate the uterine biopsy because of her age, she is very squeamish, and he doesn't want to stress her heart by undergoing a painful procedure.

So there is no way to tell whether the glandular cells originated in the uterus or cervix? If that is the case, will a D&C get the right cells to test? Maybe he needs to test the cervix too?

(Also, I posted atypical endometrial cells and I meant atypical glandular cells; I changed my original post to reflect this)
One way to determine if the atypical cells originated in the cervix is for the doctor to do the ECC. It scrapes the cervical canal to determine if there are atypical cells in there. If the canal is clear, but there are atypical cells in the uterus, then I'd think that means the problem is uterine exclusively. If the canal is involved then I don't know how the doctors determine which was the original atypia.
I wanted to come back and give an update on my mother-in-law. She had atypical glandular cells that were suspicious for adenocarcinoma that were found in a pap test and subsequently had a D&C done. The D&C results were no cancer found! We are so happy.
Thank you for reporting back, herekittykitty! I'm glad she got such good results from the D&C!

I hope they also did an ECC (endocervical curettage) on her cervix. If they didn't, I hope she asks for one the next time she goes for an appointment.
I will pass along that info. to her. Thanks for the info. and help.
[QUOTE=herekittykitty;4072314]I wanted to come back and give an update on my mother-in-law. She had atypical glandular cells that were suspicious for adenocarcinoma that were found in a pap test and subsequently had a D&C done. The D&C results were no cancer found! We are so happy.[/QUOTE]

Hi there --

Glad the results came back as they did, and not to scare anyone, but my first (and only) abnormal pap didn't even show suspicion for glandular problems. I also had a uterine biopsy six months before my cancer diagnosis and that came back as negative. So like Pickle said, I hope they did an ECC on her to see exactly what's going on in the cervical canal, since a D&C is checking the uterus and its lining, not necessarily the cervix (although if the cervix is infected the results of the D&C could be contaminated and show some evidence of a problem). Hope this makes sense. I had one minute strand of contamination in my D&C pathology, and had Stage 1a2/1b1 cervical adenocarcinoma at the time (and thankfully no other organs were involved). I'd be afraid that if someone were at the stage of AIS or a very early stage of AdCa, then there may not be contamination and something could be missed.
Thanks for the heads up Zoe. I am going to try and find out exactly what they did and tested.





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