I Think I May Have Cervical Cancer. What Do I Do?

Teen girl having consultation with beautiful female doctor.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious. In fact, signs and symptoms of cervical cancer usually do not show up in the pre-cancer stage.

Common in the United States, cervical cancer is diagnosed via a routine pelvic exam performed by your gynecologist or any other women’s health provider. Abnormal cells can be detected by a Pap smear or a biopsy of a lesion seen on the cervix. When this happens, your provider will send you to a specialist, like a gynecologic oncologist.

Furthermore, there are some symptoms that could alert you to the possibility of cervical cancer, such as:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (i.e., heavier than normal periods, bleeding with or after intercourse, bleeding in between periods, or sporadic bleeding)
  • Abnormal or increased vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic/back pain or pain with intercourse
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Swelling in the legs

If you experience these symptoms, you should see a provider for a pelvic exam and further evaluation. A gynecologist, local clinician, or your family provider can perform this evaluation for you.

Any health-care provider can screen or evaluate you for cervical cancer and refer you appropriately to your nearest gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic oncologists and radiation oncologists have special training in the treatment and management of cervical cancer. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. With appropriate and prompt treatment, cervical cancer can often be cured!

To schedule a screening or if you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer, contact the Gynecologic Oncology clinic at UofL Brown Cancer Center by calling 502-561-7220.

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About Carolyn Palmer, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Carolyn Palmer, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, earned her master of science in nursing degree from Bellarmine University. Her special interests include sexual health and gynecologic oncology. She recently started the Women’s Sexual Health Clinic within the practice for women suffering from issues related to women’s health. “I love providing care with the most up-to-date treatment and newest technology to women in my hometown. I know I am working with the best and for the best. I’m so lucky to be part of the #PowerofU team.”

All posts by Carolyn Palmer, MSN, APRN, FNP-C