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Cervical Cancer Screening

  • Screening is a means of accomplishing early detection of disease in asymptomatic people
  • Methods - not diagnostic, but sort out persons suspicious for the presence of cancer from those who are not
    1. About Cervical Cancer
      When detected early, cervical cancer is highly treatable. The best way to protect yourself is to have regular tests, and catch precancerous and cancerous cells before they become serious. The widespread use of pap testing is thought to be the main reason for the ongoing decline in cervical cancer deaths in the U.S. and other developed countries.

      The cervix is part of a woman's reproductive system. It is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ in the lower abdomen. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina. The vagina leads to the outside of the body. The cervical canal is a passageway. Blood flows from the uterus through the canal into the vagina during a woman's menstrual period. The cervix also produces mucus. The mucus helps sperm move from the vagina into the uterus. During pregnancy, the cervix is tightly closed to help keep the baby inside the uterus. During childbirth, the cervix dilates (opens) to allow the baby to pass through the vagina.

    2. Symptoms
      Precancerous changes and early cancers of the cervix generally do not cause pain or other symptoms. It is important not to wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor. When the disease gets worse, women may notice one or more of these symptoms:

      • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
      - Bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods
      - Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam
      - Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
      - Bleeding after menopause

      • Increased vaginal discharge
      • Pelvic pain
      • Pain during sexual intercourse
        Infections or other health problems may also cause these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell
        for sure. A woman with any of these symptoms should tell her doctor so that problems can
        be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

     

     

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