What is cervical cancer?
Cancer that starts in cells of the cervix is called cervical cancer.
Understanding the cervix
The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. It connects the uterus to the birth canal (vagina), which leads to the outside of the body. It’s located between the bladder and the rectum.
Looking for precancer
Precancerous cells on the cervix are the first sign that cervical cancer may develop. These cells can be seen on a Pap test. They are cells that look abnormal, but are not yet cancer. The appearance of these cells may be the first sign of cancer that will grow years later. Treating these precancer cells can prevent cancer from growing. Precancer cells of the cervix often don’t cause pain or other symptoms. This is why regular cervical cancer screening is so important.
Preventing cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer that doctors know how to prevent. There are 2 key ways to prevent cervical cancer:
- Get regular Pap tests. These are done to find and treat any precancer cells as soon as possible, before they can change into true cancer.
- Prevent precancer cells. You can do this by avoiding contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV), getting an HPV vaccine, and not smoking.
To learn more about this topic and other related topics click here to visit the CDC.
Talk with your healthcare provider
If you have questions about cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening, or how to prevent cervical cancer, talk with your healthcare provider. Your provider can help you understand more about this cancer.