Published Oct 10, 2021

Gynecologic cancer refers to any cancer that originates in the female reproductive system. This includes vaginal cancer, ovarian cancer, and vulvar cancer, but the two most common forms of gynecological cancer are uterine and cervical cancer.

The two can be easy to mix up, partly because of their proximity. Though they fulfill entirely different functions, the cervix and uterus are connected, so any changes to one will naturally affect the other. Still, knowing the difference between the two is essential to understanding the type of treatment necessary and the outcomes. Learn more about cervical cancer vs uterine cancer below.

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer refers to any cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is part of the reproductive system, connecting the main body of the uterus to the vagina. Much like other forms of cancer, cervical cancer is categorized by the type of cell affected. About nine out of ten cases of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinomas. This type of cancer affects the cells that make up the lining of the cervix. Most other types of cervical cancer are adenocarcinomas. This form affects the gland cells responsible for producing mucus and other fluids within the cervix. In rare cases, cancer may affect both types of cells. This is known as mixed carcinoma or adenosquamous carcinoma.

While cervical cancer was once one of the deadliest cancers in the United States, the death rate has dropped significantly over the years and continues to decrease year to year. Much of this comes from advancements in medical technology and improvements in screening and testing procedures. When it comes to cervical cancer, this can make one question if pregnancy is possible with this cancer type. So, can you get pregnant if you have cervical cancer? The answer to this varies on the different cancer treatment options received.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer can be difficult to identify based on symptoms alone. In its early stages, cervical cancer rarely presents with any noticeable symptoms, and symptoms that do appear are often easy to mistake for other common conditions. It typically does not present any signs and symptoms until the cancer has progressed to more advanced stages. It’s very important to get regular cervical cancer screening to detect it early on.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge that may contain blood
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding that may occur after sex, between periods, or after menopause
  • Menstrual periods that are longer or heavier
  • Painful sex
  • General pain in the pelvis

In more advanced stages, cervical cancer may also present with:

  • Swelling in the legs
  • Blood in your urine
  • General problems with bowel movements and urination

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What Is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer refers to any cancer that affects the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ located above the cervix. The uterus is essentially responsible for housing a developing fetus when you get pregnant. While the uterus and cervix are connected, doctors do make a difference between cancers affecting one or the other.

While there are a handful of different forms of uterine cancer, the vast majority of cases affect the endometrium. This is the inner lining of the uterus. During your menstrual cycle, hormones cause the endometrium to thicken, allowing for a safe cushion and ideal environment for a fertilized egg to attach itself. If you do not get pregnant during your cycle, hormones cause the body to expel the excess endometrial tissue and blood from your body, which makes up the fluids shed during your period.

Endometrial cancer can be further broken down by the specific cells involved, including adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.

Symptoms of Uterine Cancer

Similar to cervical cancer, uterine cancer (or endometrial cancer) generally does not present noticeable symptoms. Symptoms that do occur tend to appear only after the cancer has advanced.

The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. About 90 percent of people with endometrial cancer present with this, which may include:

  • A change in their regular periods
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Bleeding after menopause

You may also experience a general abnormal discharge. If you do experience any discharge, even without any blood, you should consult your doctor.

You may also experience pelvic pain and unintended weight loss. Some people may feel a mass or tumor in their pelvic region. These symptoms are usually more common in the later stages of the disease.

What is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the endometrium, the inner uterine lining. This type of cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer, making it a significant concern for women’s health worldwide.

The endometrium changes the menstrual cycle, preparing for potential pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is shed during menstruation. It’s within this lining that endometrial cancer typically develops.

Risk factors associated with endometrial cancer include hormonal imbalances, especially those involving estrogen, obesity, diabetes, age (most common after menopause), and a family history of the disease. Recognizing the symptoms early can lead to timely diagnosis and treatment, improving the chances of a positive outcome.

Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer 

The symptoms of endometrial cancer can be subtle at first and become more noticeable as the cancer progresses. The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which may present as changes in menstrual periods, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after menopause. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pelvic pain or cramping
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Unusual, watery, or blood-tinged vaginal discharge not related to menstruation
  • A mass or feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
  • Unexplained weight loss

Women need to monitor their health and consult their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms, especially abnormal vaginal bleeding. Early detection through pelvic exams, ultrasound, and biopsy can be crucial in effectively treating endometrial cancer.

Difference Between Cervical Cancer vs. Uterine Cancer

These two cancers do have quite a bit of overlap, thanks in part to the proximity of the organs and tissues involved. While cervical and uterine cancers both affect the female reproductive system, they originate in different parts of it. Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Uterine cancer, however, starts in the body of the uterus, particularly often in the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus. This fundamental difference between cervical vs. uterine cancer influences both the symptoms and treatment approaches for these cancers. Understanding the distinctions is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment.

The Cause

Cancer in general is caused by genetic mutations that result in the uncontrolled growth of cells. Research still does not know what specifically causes this genetic mutation, and that extends to both cervical and uterine cancer.

However, evidence does show that infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is closely associated with cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, so much so that anyone sexually active will likely contract an HPV infection at some point in their lives.

This does not mean that every HPV case will automatically result in cervical cancer. Many people with HPV don’t present with any symptoms and get better on their own. However, many cases of cervical cancer have been linked to HPV infections.

Prevention and Detection

Related to the above, cervical cancer has become less of a problem specifically because it is easier to identify and prevent with regular screening and testing. HPV tests look specifically for HPV infections, while Pap tests allow your doctor to detect abnormal cells in the cervix. This allows for early detection of precancer or cervical cancer. The earlier you diagnose any form of cancer, the better the outcome.

Uterine cancer does not generally have any existing screening procedures. However, endometrial cancer is often detected early because the abnormal bleeding is hard to ignore.


The two forms of cancer do have some slight overlap in terms of treatment. Surgery tends to be the most common form of treatment. Surgery for both focuses on removing cancer cells and typically nearby tissue. For uterine cancer, surgery most commonly involves a hysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and potentially the ovaries. While this can effectively treat the cancer, it may cause early menopause. Removal of the uterus and ovaries also means that getting pregnant is impossible.

Cervical cancer may also be treated with a hysterectomy, but depending on the extent of the cancer and the size of the growth, the doctor may be able to treat it with a trachelectomy, which removes just the cervix and some surrounding tissue. If the cancer is small enough, the doctor may be able to remove the cancer cells alone while leaving the rest of the cervix intact. In both cases, you can still get pregnant following surgery as the uterus is left untouched.

Other treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, which can have varying side effects.

Uterine or cervical cancer both have its their distinctions, and it’s important to talk to your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis for effective treatment. Perhaps the most heartening thing that the two cancers share is that they have fairly high survival rates, but much of that depends on finding and identifying the cancer as soon as possible. Be sure to get cervical screening or see a doctor right away when experiencing symptoms of either cancer type.

Holistic Treatment for Cervical and Uterine Cancer 

Understanding the nuances between cervical vs uterine cancer and endometrial cancer is essential for effective prevention, screening, and treatment. Regular screenings and being attentive to your body’s signals can lead to early detection, which significantly improves treatment outcomes. At Immunity Therapy Center, we offer a variety of alternative cancer therapies that complement traditional treatment methods. Our approach includes personalized treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s unique needs, offering hope and healing to those affected by cervical or uterine cancer. For more information on our cancer treatment options, please visit our pages on Cervical Cancer and Uterine Cancer.



  1. CDC. Gynecologic Cancer Incidence, United States—2012–2016.
  2. What Is Cervical Cancer?
  3. Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer. 
  4. What Is Endometrial Cancer?
  5. Signs and Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer. 

Dr. Carlos Bautista is a Board Certified Medical Doctor. He received his Medical Degree from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and has more than 20 years of experience working with Alternative Medicine to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic degenerative diseases, and infectious diseases. He opened Immunity Therapy Center in 2007 with the goal of providing the highest quality medical care for more than 5,000 patients.

At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.