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Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer is a rapid, uncontrolled growth of severely abnormal cells on the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Most abnormal cervical cell changes that develop into cancer are caused by infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

Symptoms of cervical cancer may include:

  • Bleeding when something comes in contact with the cervix, such as during sexual intercourse or insertion of a diaphragm.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge containing mucus that may be tinged with blood.

Cervical cancer can be prevented if a woman has regular Pap tests, which almost always detect cervical cell changes before the changes become cancerous. Also, the HPV vaccine protects against two types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRoss Berkowitz, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedAugust 30, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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