Cervical Cancer (Cancer of the Cervix)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Cervical Cancer Slideshow Pictures

Cervical Cancer Symptoms and Signs

In its early stages, cervical cancer typically does not cause symptoms. It may be detected on Pap screening and subsequent testing even before symptoms have developed. When symptoms do occur, one of the most common symptoms is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This can include bleeding:

  • between menstrual periods,
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse or a pelvic exam, or
  • bleeding after douching.

Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding after menopause are also possible symptoms of cervical cancer.

Quick GuideCervical Cancer Symptoms, Stages and Treatment

Cervical Cancer Symptoms, Stages and Treatment

Cervical cancer facts

  • Causes and risk factors for cervical cancer include human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, having many sexual partners, smoking, taking birth control pills, and engaging in early sexual contact.
  • HPV infection may cause cervical dysplasia, or abnormal growth of cervical cells.
  • Regular pelvic exams and Pap testing can detect precancerous changes in the cervix.
  • Precancerous changes in the cervix may be treated with cryosurgery, cauterization, or laser surgery.
  • The most common symptoms and signs of cervical cancer are
  • Cervical cancer can be diagnosed using a Pap smear or other procedures that sample the cervix tissue.
  • Chest X-rays, CT scan, MRI, and a PET scan may be used to determine the stage of cervical cancer.
  • Cancer of the cervix requires different treatment than cancer that begins in other parts of the uterus.
  • Treatment options for cervical cancer include
  • Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix are vaccines that are available to prevent HPV infection.
  • The prognosis of cervical cancer depends upon the stage and type of cervical cancer as well as the tumor size.
Female Illustration - Cervical Cancer
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2016

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