Skip navigation
   Other Topics: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ All Topics

Cervical Cancer

 

 
 

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, the place where a baby grows during pregnancy. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called HPV. The virus spreads through sexual contact. Most women's bodies are able to fight HPV infection. But sometimes the virus leads to cancer. You're at higher risk if you smoke, have had many children, use birth control pills for a long time, or have HIV infection.

Cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms at first. Later, you may have pelvic pain or bleeding from the vagina. It usually takes several years for normal cells in the cervix to turn into cancer cells. Your health care provider can find abnormal cells by doing a Pap test to examine cells from the cervix. You may also have an HPV test. If your results are abnormal, you may need a biopsy or other tests. By getting regular screenings, you can find and treat any problems before they turn into cancer.

Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination. The choice of treatment depends on the size of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread and whether you would like to become pregnant someday.

Vaccines can protect against several types of HPV, including some that can cause cancer.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

 

 

 
 
Basics Learn More Multimedia & Cool Tools
 
Research Reference Shelf For You

 

 

Photograph of a woman sitting on a porch chair

National Institutes of Health

Languages

 

  • MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.

 

 

 

Cervical Cancer - Multiple Languages

MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.