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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is cervical cancer?
Cancer of the cervix occurs when the cervical cells of a woman are damaged and replicate unchecked. Most of the time the damage is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Most of the time there are no symptoms for cervical cancer, which is why it's important to be screened with a Pap smear if you are at risk. When symptoms occur they include pain, discharge and abnormal bleeding.
What is the cervix?
The cervix is the point between the uterus and vagina that produces lubricant for the vagina and mucus that promotes the motility (ability to move) of sperm.
What causes cervical cancer?
Human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts, causes most cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cells undergo abnormal changes before they become cancerous. A Pap smear can detect these changes.
How is cervical cancer treated?
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are used to treat cervical cancer.
Can cervical cancer be prevented?
In many cases cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), so getting the HPV vaccine, using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners you have are the best ways to reduce your risk of getting cervical cancer.
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear involves the scraping off of cells from the cervix and smearing them onto a glass slide, which is then sent to a lab where someone who specializes in studying cells, called a cytologist, checks them for abnormalities.
About this article
Author: Jonathan Meddings BMedLabSc (Hons)
First answered: 11 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 17 Oct 2018
Rating: 5.0 out of 5
Votes: 268 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Cervical cancer