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About Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer happens in a woman's cervix (SUR-vix). The cervix is at the back of the vagina. Cervical cancer can grow slowly and may not have symptoms. The cells of the cervix don't suddenly change into cancer. Instead, normal cells in the cervix slowly change into cancer cells.

This kind of cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent. But you need regular screening tests to check for it. One type of screening test is a Pap test. During this test, your provider uses a small brush to take cells from your cervix. Then the lab looks at the cells with a microscope.

Pap tests can help find cervical cancer early. That's when treatment has the best chance of working.

The information on this page was compiled by the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Quality from a variety of sources, including (but not limited to) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Cancer Society, and Mayo Clinic. This information summarizes core care elements appropriate to most adult women. This information should not be construed as representing standards of care nor a substitute for individualized evaluation and treatment on clinical circumstances by a qualified health care professional. Please see our disclaimer.

For more information about this complex health issue, please see the Cervical Cancer Links page for resources and information sources.

An initiative of the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Quality and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with additional funding provided by HealthInsight New Mexico