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Cervical Cancer Health Center

Cervical Cancer Overview

Cervical cancer is mostly caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. An HPV vaccine may reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Symptoms of cervical cancer can include painful sex, vaginal bleeding, and discharge.

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For women 21 years and older at average risk for cervical cancer, getting screened once every 3 years should suffice, according to advice from the American College of Physicians (ACP).

What Happens

Cervical cancer happens when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. Cervical cancer can often be successfully treated when it's found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a Pap test.

If cervical cancer isn't treated, it may spread from the cervix to the vagina, and then into deeper tissue layers of connective tissue around the uterus. As it progresses, it may spread to the pelvic lymph nodes and other pelvic organs. Advanced-stagecancer may spread to lymph nodes; to other organs in the pelvis, causing problems with kidney and bowel function; or to other organs in the body, such as the liver and lungs.

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