Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if detected early and managed effectively. It involves the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina (cervix). Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by an infection with certain types of human papillomavirus viruses (HPV), which is usually a sexually transmitted infection. HPV infection can cause abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, which can be mild, or they can be more serious. The more serious changes can lead to cancer if not treated. There are two ways you can prevent or lower your risk of having cervical cancer:
  • Routine cancer screenings help prevent cervical cancer. There are basically 3 ways that are most commonly used for screening:
    • Looking for abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix using the Pap smear test or the liquid-based cytology: it involves taking a sample of the cells of the cervix using small brush and looking at the cells with a microscope in the labs
    • Looking for the presence of certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV): HPV test which is usually taken with the same brush from the cervix
    • Or both: called: co-testing
  • HPV Vaccination: like any vaccination, the HPV vaccine prevents you getting infected with the HPV viruses which cause most cases of cervical cancer. It is usually given between the ages of 9-26 years on 3 separate occasions
If the screening tests are abnormal, then your doctor may take a small sample (biopsy) of the cervix to confirm the abnormality.

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While the disease may not cause any symptoms in its early stages, signs and symptoms of more advanced cervical cancer may include:
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding after sex
These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.


When you are suspected to have cervical cancer, your doctor may use any or all the following tests to confirm and see if the cancer has spread. Biopsy of the cervix: A biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue from the cervix and looking at it under the microscope to confirm the diagnosis of cervical cancer. Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to assess the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.


Treatment of cervical cancer depends on various factors such as the type of the cancer cells, how big is the cancer, whether it is still localized or has spread and your age and general health. The treatment usually involves either surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy of a combination. Surgery: If the cancer has not spread, then surgery is often used to remove cancerous tissue and can be done using several different approaches. For example, a hysterectomy may be performed to remove the uterus and cervix and when needed tissues around the cervix (radical hysterectomy) and certain lymph glands. In rare instances, when the cancer is very early in women who wish to preserve their fertility then your doctor may remove a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix (cone biopsy) or he may remove cervix with or without the surrounding tissue (Trachelectomy or radical trachelectomy).
Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be delivered externally (from a machine outside the body) or internally (using a device placed inside the vagina). Chemotherapy: This treatment uses medications injected into a vein to kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts the body's immune system to help it fight cancer cells. Antiangiogenic therapy: This treatment prevents the development of new vessels to stop the cancer from growing and spreading. Palliative care: This form of medical care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illnesses. It is designed to improve the quality of life for patients who have a serious or terminal illness, and it can be provided along with treatment to cure the illness or to extend life expectancy.

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