Women’s Health A-Z
Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow on the cervix. When found early, it can often be treated successfully.
There usually aren’t any symptoms related to abnormal cervical cells, but if those cells grow into cancer, patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Abnormal bleeding and/or discharge
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
Pap smears are the first step towards a diagnosis. If the pap shows abnormal cervical cells, then your physician may order additional tests, including a colposcopy, which allows them to closely examine your cervix to look for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. They may also take a biopsy for lab testing if they do detect abnormalities. A lab test of the biopsied tissue will be able to definitively diagnosis cervical cancer if it is present.
Treatment for Cervical Cancer
Treatment will vary based on the stage of the disease. If diagnosed with cervical cancer, patients will work with their medical team, which may include an oncologist, to determine the best course of action. For the earliest stages of the disease, treatments usually begin with a procedure to remove the abnormal cells. Doctors may recommend a full hysterectomy, radiation and/or chemotherapy for patients who have later stages cancer.