Also called Cancer of the Cervix
hat Women Need to Know
What Should I Look For?
Cancer of the cervix often has no early signs or
symptoms. That's why it is important for women to have
regular tests called Pap tests. Signs usually appear when
the cancer has spread in the body. You should report any
of the following signs to your doctor right away:
y Any unusual discharge from the vagina (not your
y Blood spots or light bleeding, other than your
y Bleeding or pain during sex.
These signs do not mean that you have cancer. They can
also be caused by something else, but you must check
with your doctor to find out.
What Adds to My Risk?
Risks that add to your chance of getting cancer of the
y Having sex at an early age;
y Having sex with more than one person;
y Having sex with a person who has had sex with
more than one person;
y Being infected with the virus that causes genital
warts (human papilloma virus or HPV). Not all
women who have HPV infection or genital warts
develop cervical cancer;
y Smoking cigarettes;
y	 Being infected with HIV (HIV is the virus that
y	 Being infected with genital herpes or chlamydia
infections (both are diseases that you can get
through sex, called Sexually Transmitted Diseases
y Using birth control pills for a long time;
y Having a diet low in fruits and vegetables;
y Being highly overweight;
y Having a mother or sister who has had cancer of th
y Not getting regular Pap tests.
How Can I Help Find Cancer of the
y	 Women who are having sex or who are over 18
years old should have a pelvic exam every year.
y	 Women who are having sex should have an annual
Pap test 3 years after the first sexual intercourse or
by age 21, whichever comes first. Your doctor may
advise less frequent Pap tests if you are over the age
of 30 and meet certain conditions.
y	 The Pap test can find the early signs of cancer.
Treatment can sto