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Cervical Cancer 101

On this page you will learn about symptoms of cervical cancer, diagnosis, and treatment options. We hope this information will help you prepare for a discussion with your gynecologist or a Gynecologic Oncologist.

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is usually named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later.


Cervical cancer begins in the part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. It is the part of the uterus that dilates to allow a baby to pass into the birth canal. Cervical cancer is almost always caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can integrate into the DNA of the cells in the cervix.

The normal cervix has two main types of cells: squamous cells, which protect the outside of the cervix, and glandular cells, which are mostly inside the cervix. The HPV virus can integrate into both types of cells in the cervix, and may cause cancer over time. Cervical cancer can be prevented by routine screening (Pap smears and HPV tests) and HPV vaccination.

women's reproductive system

The Foundation for Women's Cancer has brochures in English, Spanish, and Chinese: the links below.

pronounce gynecologic

Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Screening

If one or more of these symptoms or risk factors is true for you,

it does not mean you have or will necessarily get cervical cancer.


Please report all your symptoms and risk factors to a doctor, preferably a gynecologist.

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