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Cervical cancer

  • Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the narrow organ at the bottom of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The cervix dilates during childbirth to allow for passage of a baby.
  • Infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. However, not all women with an HPV infection will develop cervical cancer.
  • The early stages of cervical cancer usually do not have any symptoms. This is why it is important to have screening Pap tests.
  • As a tumor grows in size, it can produce a variety of symptoms including: abnormal bleeding (including bleeding after sexual intercourse, in between periods, heavier/longer lasting menstrual bleeding, or bleeding after menopause), abnormal vaginal discharge (may be foul smelling), pelvic or back pain, pain on urination and blood in the stools/urine.
  • Routine Pap testing is the best way to detect abnormal changes to the cervix before they develop into cancer. Because of this, women who do not regularly have a Pap test are at increased risk of developing the disease

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