By: Andrea Hayes
- Cancer occurs when healthy cells turn into abnormal cells. These cells grow and multiply and can turn into a mass (i.e. cancer)
- Cervical cancer is cancer that occurs in the cervix.
- The cervix is a part of a female’s reproductive track. See picture.
- Cervical cancer is highly preventable.
- You can prevent cervical cancer by getting regular pap-tests and the HPV vaccination.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer.
- HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. It is passed from one person to another person during sex.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
- Early on, cervical cancer may not have any signs or symptoms.
- Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina, difficult or painful urination, pain during sex, and/or pain in the pelvic area.
How is cervical cancer diagnosed and treated?
- Cervical cancer is diagnosed through a pap-test, which is a simple procedure that happens at a routine doctor’s visit.
- If diagnosed with cervical cancer, your treatment could include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
How can I reduce my risk of cervical cancer?
1. Getting a HPV Vaccine
- There are two HPV vaccines that protect females against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
- Females from 11 through 26 years old can get the vaccine. It is highly recommended that females get the same vaccine brand and receive all three doses of the vaccine.
2. Getting Regular Pap-tests
- Pap-tests find pre-cancer cells that may become cervical cancer. You should start getting pap-tests at age 21.
- It is important to get regular pap-tests even if you are not having sex-anymore.
3. Other Prevention
- Don’t smoke
- Use condoms
- Limit sexual partners
Are there any available programs/ resources?
Yes! Visit http://www.adph.org/earlydetection/
- Here you will find resources and information about programs concerning cervical cancer. These include screening and diagnostic services.