What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that affects the cervix, the lower part of a woman’s womb that connects to the vagina.
Diagnosing cervical cancer
The chief risk factor for cervical cancer is contracting human papillomavirus (HPV). Additionally, scheduling regular cervical cancer screenings (pelvic exams and Pap smears) can help to detect cervical cancer in its early stages, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Treating cervical cancer
Once cancer is detected, an oncologist or gynecologic oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in gynecological cancers, will determine the cervical cancer staging and treatment options. While early stage cervical cancer does not typically display symptoms, it is treated most effectively during this time. How a patient is treated is dependent on the cancer’s stage, but often involves a hysterectomy, a surgery that removes the cervix, uterus and infrequently the vagina and surrounding lymph nodes.
Treatment can consist of a combination of surgery and other treatments including, but not limited to, radiation and chemotherapy.