Cervical cancer occurs when cells lining the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina) grow out of control. Many cases of cervical cancer are caused by the virus human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be contracted by having sexual contact with an individual who has it, though it is important to note not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is often successfully treated when caught early – usually through a Pap test. Symptoms may include pain in the lower belly or pelvis, vaginal discharge that isn’t normal, pain during sex and bleeding from the vagina that is not normal (bleeding between menstrual periods, after sex or after menopause.) Treatment for cervical cancer may include surgery (hysterectomy and removal of pelvic lymph nodes), chemotherapy and radiation.
Organizations exist to provide support and resources to individuals experiencing cervical cancer.