In general, there are no early signs of cervical cancer. Most women experience noticeable symptoms only after the cancer has spread to nearby tissues. When symptoms develop, they often include pain during sex, unusual vaginal bleeding and abnormal discharge.
Cervical cancer’s lack of warning signs does not mean that it can’t be caught early. In fact, this malignancy tends to grow slowly and is among the most highly treatable cancers when it is diagnosed in an early stage. The key to timely cervical cancer detection is having regular Pap tests performed by a women’s health care specialist. Adhering to the following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help detect cervical cancer and precancerous changes before they progress to an advanced stage:
- Women ages 21 to 29 should receive a Pap test at least once every 3 years.
- Women ages 30 to 65 should receive a Pap test at least once every 3 years, or once every 5 years with a combination Pap and human papilloma virus (HPV) test.
If you have HPV or a personal or family history of cervical cancer, you may benefit from more frequent screening. Be sure to speak with a women’s health care specialist about what screening schedule is most appropriate for your health risks.
Cervical cancer screening at Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center’s gynecological clinic is renowned for its cancer treatment and supportive care, but did you know we also offer comprehensive cervical cancer screening and preventive care services? Our gynecological clinic provides, follow-up testing, diagnostics and expert advice all in one location, as well as cervical cancer treatment from specialists who focus exclusively on gynecologic malignancies. No referrals are required to visit Moffitt – just contact us at 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to take the next step.