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Cervical cancer is caused by abnormal cell growth in the tissues of the cervix — the organ that connects the uterus and vagina.
Cervical cancer develops slowly. Usually, it begins with dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to appear in cervical tissue.
Infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer.
Regular Pap smears and the HPV vaccine can detect or prevent HPV infection. Not everybody with HPV will develop cervical cancer.
The following represent the most common types of cervical cancer.
Any woman can develop cervical cancer, but certain factors may increase your risk, including:
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program use a variety of tests to diagnose and screen for cervical cancer, including:
If you're diagnosed with cervical cancer, your treatment will depend on the following factors:
Your doctors and other specialists at the Magee-Womens Gynecologic Cancer Program will work with you to consider your options and determine a course of action.
Sometimes, we may use radiation therapy following surgery to continue to shrink the tumor.
If your cancer is advanced or you're not a good candidate for surgery, your doctor may recommend primary treatment using:
A combination of these treatments may cause changes in your genitals that may make intercourse difficult.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions related to sexual activity following treatment for cervical cancer.
As a patient of the Gynecologic Cancer Program, you have access to additional treatment options and services, including: