Cervical Dysplasia/Cervical Cancer



Illustration of Cancer of the Cervix

Cervical dysplasia refers to abnormal cells of the cervix that are not yet cancerous but have the potential to progress to cancer. These are precancerous lesions of the cervix that are diagnosed by a Pap smear. 

 
  • Overview
  • Action Plan
  • Ask The Doctor

Overview


In the United States, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis and cause of death among gynecologic cancers. Over 12,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly with approximately 4000 cancer-related deaths each year. 1

Cervical dysplasia does not usually have accompanying symptoms; however, if it progresses to invasive cervical cancer, patients may experience:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse

The risk factors for cervical dysplasia and cancer are:

  • Exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus) which is sexually transmitted
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Early age of first intercourse
  • Tobacco use
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Poor nutrition with low amounts of micronutrients, like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E 2

In my 25 years as a family physician I have seen several cases of cervical dysplasia and even early stage cervical cancer (carcinoma-in-situ) reverse itself and disappear in response to the Nutritarian diet and the recommendations discussed in the Action Plan. Though I do not have the scientific data to document how robust and predictable this would be, attempts to fund and plan these studies are being implemented.

 
References
  1. Siegel R, Ma J, Zou Z, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2014. CA Cancer J Clin 2014, 64:9-29.
  2. Ghosh C, Baker JA, Moysich KB, et al. Dietary intakes of selected nutrients and food groups and risk of cervical cancer. Nutr Cancer 2008, 60:331-341.

Action Plan


Diet

  • A Nutritarian diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, fruits, beans, onions, mushrooms, seeds, and nuts protects against many forms of cancer, including cervical cancer.1
  • HPV is a virus that is the cause of most cervical cancer cases. This virus can be cleared by an optimally-functioning immune system. A Nutritarian diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals will boost the body’s defense mechanisms against this virus. It can also help reverse abnormal cervical cells. I have seen many cases of cervical dysplasia revert back to normal with a Nutritarian diet.
  • Drinking freshly squeezed vegetable juice daily in addition to a Nutritarian diet plan can help repair damaged cells and fight the HPV virus.
  • Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phytochemical found in certain cruciferous vegetables, has been shown to exert anti-HPV activity. Increasing cruciferous vegetable intake as well as supplementing with I3C can be very beneficial.2
  • Green tea extract can cause death of HPV-infected cervical cells and inhibit tumor formation.

Procedures

  • Certain cases of cervical dysplasia will require frequent monitoring with Pap smears and even a colposcopy. A colposcopy is a procedure that allows for magnification of the cervix’s surface with an instrument like a microscope. Abnormal cells can be removed or biopsied.
  • Cancerous cells or very abnormal cells may need to be removed by electrosurgical excision, cryotherapy, laser therapy or conization of tissue.

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References
  1. Ghosh C, Baker JA, Moysich KB, et al. Dietary intakes of selected nutrients and food groups and risk of cervical cancer. Nutr Cancer 2008, 60:331-341.
  2. Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, Dashwood RH. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res 2007, 55:224-236.

Ask The Doctor


The following are sample questions from the Ask the Doctor Community Platinum and higher members can post their health questions directly to Dr. Fuhrman. (All members can browse questions and answers.)

Q.

Do you have any suggestions for a woman who has the type of HPV that causes cervical cancer who is being strongly encouraged to have surgery?

A.

I have had many women reverse their cervical dysplasia using nutritional excellence. Mixed vegetable juice, blended salads, blended soups with broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables, and pomegranate juice should make up a considerable portion of your diet.

 
Q.

What exactly is this “human papilloma virus?” I hear about it all the time on commercials. Does a Nutritarian diet cure and/or prevent this? It’s hard to know if women should be really freaked out about this or is it just another way to sell another drug?

A.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that is a major component in the cauldron of cervical cancer causation. An excellent, high nutrient diet boosts the immune defenses against the virus and can prevent the viral promoted pre-cancerous and cancerous changes.

 
Q.

What is your opinion on the HPV vaccine?

A.

My opinion hinges on the risk/benefit ratio. In other words, if a person is sexually active with multiple partners then the risk of HPV infection increases. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease, but certainly one’s health and nutrition play a role in the resistance to these infections. If a person has always been in a mutually monogamous relationship, then the vaccine would be unnecessary. It is the grey areas that make these decisions difficult.

 
Q.

I just wanted to know exactly what cervical dysplasia is. My mom was just told she had it and needs some kind of procedure to remove it. She already had a colposcopy and now she needs to go under anesthesia and have this removed. Do you think this has anything to do with a poor diet and lack of exercise? Or stress? I know she isn’t promiscuous.

A.

It is definitely the case that cervical dysplasia (cellular inflammation that occurs many years before cells become cancerous) is promoted by a poor diet and exposure to the HPV virus. It does not matter if she had multiple sexual partners because it only takes intercourse with one person who could have picked up the virus from someone else. Seventy-five percent of sexually active young people transmit the virus. I have seen many cases of cervical dysplasia reverse back to normal with excellent nutrition. I am sure if you continue to eat a diet rich in nutrients and cruciferous vegetables this will resolve. Have a glass of vegetable juice a few times a week too, from mostly carrot or tomato with added kale, bok choy, and parsley.