Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer starts in a woman's cervix. The cervix is the lower, thin opening of the uterus that connects the vagina (or birth canal) to the uterus (womb). Cervical cancer grows slowly over time and usually starts with abnormal changes to the cells on the cervix, known as dysplasia. Removing these abnormal cells can prevent cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer screening tests can find the cells that lead to cancer before it starts or find cancer early when it is most easily treated. The Papanicolaou (Pap) test screens for abnormal cells that may develop into cancer, and the HPV test screens for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) that causes these cell changes. Nearly all cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). As many as 93% of cervical cancers could be prevented by screening and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination.

Cervical Cancer Screening and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to miss their cervical cancer screening appointment. If you are due for cervical cancer screening, do not wait. Call your health care provider to schedule your appointment as soon as you can. If you are having any symptoms of cervical cancer, call your health care provider right away. Regular screening may prevent cervical cancer or find it early when treatment works best.

Health care providers are taking steps so that important health visits can happen safely. All staff and patients must wear masks and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before going in the office. Equipment, exam rooms and dressing rooms are cleaned after each patient. Other safety steps may include socially distanced waiting rooms, on-line check in, and more time added between appointments.