Abnormal cells can appear on the surface of the cervix and are considered precancerous. If these cells spread deeper into the cervix, or to other tissues or organs, the disease is called cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer occurs most often in women older than 40. It is different from cancer that begins in other parts of the uterus and requires different treatment.
Your doctor will do a pelvic exam and Pap test to detect any abnormal changes in the cervix. If these tests produce abnormal results, your doctor will order additional tests to help make the diagnosis.
Your treatment choices depend on your age and health and the extent of the disease. You may need surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. Your doctor will help determine the appropriate treatment for you.
Side effects are common during cancer treatment. Some people have only a few side effects, and others may have several. Your doctor or cancer nurse can suggest ways to ease any side effects that you experience.
Early detection of cervical problems is the best way to prevent cervical cancer. Routine, annual pelvic examinations and Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions that often can be treated before cancer develops.
Learn more about cervical cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) for patients. It includes information about prevention, screening, and treatment.