At Rush, our gynecologic oncologists focus on detecting cervical cancer early and personalizing your care with innovative treatments and robotic surgery.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Most cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The HPV vaccine — which is recommended for girls and boys at age 11 and 12 before they have sexual contact — can prevent most cases of cervical cancer.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Having one or more of these factors or symptoms increase your risk for cervical cancer:
- Lack of regular pap and HPV tests
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain during sex
- Longer, heavier periods
- Unusual discharge
- Bleeding after menopause
If you have any of these risk factors or signs of cervical cancer, it's important to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to be tested.
Cervical Cancer Tests at Rush
When detected early, cervical cancer is considered highly treatable and curable. That's why at Rush, we focus on early detection and prevention. We recommend these screenings, which can help detect cervical early-stage cervical cancer:
- Pap smear, or pap test: Routine pap tests can help identify cancer or pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) test: The HPV test detects high-risk types of the HPV virus in women as part of screening for abnormal cervical cells.
- Colposcopy: If the results of your pap and HPV tests confirm abnormal cells in your cervix, your doctor will perform a colposcopy and remove tissue cells to be examined for cancer.
- Conization, or cone biopsy: Your doctor may perform this procedure to evaluate and remove tissues to be examined.
Treatment for Cervical Cancer
If these tests confirm you have cervical cancer, your doctor refer you to a gynecologic oncologist. Treatment of your cervical cancer depends on the stage, but it may include the following, alone or in combination:
Rush Excellence in Cervical Cancer
- Nationally recognized care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the best in the country for both gynecology and cancer care.
- Leading-edge innovation and research: As a principal member of the National Cancer Institute's Gynecology Oncology Group, Rush is a leader in gynecological cancer care and research. This includes giving you access to cervical cancer clinical trials and treatments that might not be available elsewhere.
- Expertise in minimally invasive surgery: At Rush, you will be cared for by some of the country's leading laparoscopic and robotic surgeons. For instance, Rush University Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in the city to use the da Vinci Surgical System. Robotic surgery offers a minimally invasive alternative for complex cervical cancer surgery, so you'll experience less pain and can return home the same or next day.
- Leading advocates for cervical cancer treatment: Our gynecologic oncologists are passionate about the care they provide and strive to ensure that every patient can receive early diagnosis and life-saving cervical cancer care. That's why we are leading a city-wide effort, called Hope Central, aimed at reducing cervical cancer deaths in Black women, who are nearly twice as likely to die of the disease than white women.
- Survivorship clinic: Our dedicated team of gynecologic cancer survivorship experts works with you and your care team to develop personalized survivorship care plans to help you get back to your life and health after cancer.