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Cervical Cancer

The Pap test was routine. What it revealed was far from it.

It’s cervical cancer. Now what? 

Your diagnosis is just the first step of your OhioHealth Cancer Care Plan. Now you know where you stand. Now we can begin to help. And we want you to know there is hope.

Throughout your Care Plan and beyond, we’ll be with you. Marrying the clinical with the compassionate. Providing you the precise care, and caring, you need. Helping you navigate this new and unfamiliar landscape.

Questions will certainly arise as you progress through your Care Plan. And that’s OK. We’re here to answer any and all of them, whether they’re about treatment, your eligibility for clinical trials, your desire to connect with others through educational classes and programs, or any of our many other resources available.

Cervical Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is cervical cancer and what causes it?


    Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the tissues of a woman’s cervix, the lower part of the uterus leading to the vagina. There are two types of cervical cancer:

    • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common cervical cancer, and it develops in the thin, flat cells that line the bottom of the cervix.
    • Adenocarcinoma is the less common cervical cancer, and it develops in the glandular cells that line the upper portion of the cervix.

    The human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, is known to play a major role in causing this cancer.

  • Q: Is cervical cancer treatable?


    Yes. Different cervical cancer treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. How your cervical cancer is treated will depend on the type and stage of your cancer. Additional factors determining the kind of treatment include your age and health. 

    Talk to your doctor about the stage of your cervical cancer and how it will likely respond to treatment options.

  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat cervical cancer?

    A: Yes. We offer cervical cancer patients the best care available. We have an experienced team of gynecologic oncologists, unique OB/GYN physicians who have extensive special training to provide comprehensive medical and surgical care to women with reproductive tract cancers.
  • Q: What does it mean if my cancer spreads? How does it happen?


    Cancer spreads when the tumor’s cancer cells enter the blood stream or the lymph nodes. This spreading is referred to as “metastasis,” and the cancer is referred to as metastatic cancer. Because the metastatic cells are from the original cancer, referred to as the “primary,” the cancer is still the original cancer, although existing now in another part of the body. For example:

    • If cervical cancer metastasizes into the bladder, the tumor that forms in the bladder is made up of cervical cancer cells. It is still cervical cancer, even though it’s now located in the bladder.

    Treatment for metastatic cancer will depend on where it began (its primary source), the location and size of the metastatic cancer, previous cancer treatments and the patient’s health.

  • Q: Where do I find more information on cervical cancer?


    There’s a lot of information about cervical cancer on the Web and in bookstores. We recommend you start with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise. From there you’ll find more resources.

    Visit these websites for more information on cervical cancer:

    National Cancer Institute
    American Cancer Society

  • Q: What are the different stages of cervical cancer?

    A: Staging is the process of determining the extent of the cancer, whether or not it has spread within the layers of the cervix and/or outside of the cervix to other organs. Staging is important in determining the type of treatment most appropriate for the cancer.

    The National Cancer Institute describes the stages of cervical cancer in this way: 

    Stage I:
     The tumor has invaded the cervix beneath the top layer of cells. Cancer cells are found only in the cervix.

    Stage II: The tumor extends to the upper part of the vagina. It may extend beyond the cervix into nearby tissues toward the pelvic wall (the lining of the part of the body between the hips). The tumor does not invade the lower third of the vagina or the pelvic wall.

    Stage III: The tumor extends to the lower part of the vagina. It may also have invaded the pelvic wall. If the tumor blocks the flow of urine, one or both kidneys may not be working well.

    Stage IV: The tumor invades the bladder or rectum. Or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

    Recurrent cancer: The cancer was treated, but has returned after a period of time during which it could not be detected. The cancer may show up again in the cervix or in other parts of the body.

    For more about the staging of cervical cancer, we suggest visiting the National Cancer Institute’s information offering expanded details.
  • Q: How serious is my cervical cancer diagnosis?


    We understand this is the biggest question for someone newly diagnosed with cervical cancer. The answer you’re looking for, however, is individual to you — just as it is individual to other cervical cancer patients —and so cannot be generalized in an FAQ.

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about the seriousness of your cervical cancer diagnosis with a friend or family member present to help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you. Ask your doctor to explain the stage your cancer is in and what that means for your treatment and recovery. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns.

    At OhioHealth, we have the advanced technology to diagnose and treat this disease. We have highly skilled and experienced physicians who know how to fight it.

  • Q: Will surgery be part of my treatment?

    A: Whether surgery will be considered part of your treatment depends on your individual cancer condition, as well as how well you would respond to surgery. Your doctor and others on your Cancer Care Team will work closely with you to help determine treatment options best for you.
  • Q: What treatment options are available to me, and how will they affect my daily life?

    A: Cervical cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The options available to you will depend on the stage of your cancer and the condition of your overall health. Every cancer patient is unique in her treatment needs, and it’s best to talk with your doctor about what options will work for you, as well as what it means for your quality of life going forward.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth offer any clinical trials for cervical cancer?

    A: Talk to your doctor about your interest in participating in a clinical trial for cervical cancer. Your doctor will be able to give you information about any trials for cervical cancer going on at OhioHealth. 

    Also visit the National Cancer Institute’s website for information on clinical trials to help you learn more about them, so that you may have an informed discussion with your doctor.

Want more answers? Browse all of the OhioHealth cancer patient FAQs. General FAQ

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