Cervical Cancer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the U.S. It is most often discovered after a Pap test finds abnormal cells on the cervix. It is important to keep in mind that an abnormal test result does not mean you have cervical cancer. However, if the abnormal cells are left untreated, it can lead to cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that causes most cases of cervical cancer. Most individuals have HPV at one point in their lives, but it often goes away on its own. However, some types of HPV can cause cancerous cells to grow.

Treatment

Gynecologic Oncology at Penn State Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care for women with pelvic malignancies, including cervical cancer. 

We are also major site for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH)-sponsored Gynecologic Oncology Group. This helps us deliver the latest advances in care. 

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Treating cancers of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tube and ovary 
  • Evaluating abnormal or difficult Pap smears results
  • Evaluating and treating dysplasia of the vulva, vagina or cervix
  • Evaluating and treating pelvic masses
  • Evaluating and treating abnormal uterine bleeding and endometrial hyperplasia 
  • Gynecologic surgery, including medically compromised, or surgically challenging cases
  • Chemotherapy
  • Investigational therapies for patients with gynecologic cancers or malignancies
  • Collaborative treatment plans with local oncologists for chemotherapy, radiation, and follow-up treatment
  • Second opinions

Care Team

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematology/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Leonard Tuanquin, MD Leonard Tuanquin, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Joshua Kesterson, MD Joshua Kesterson, MD View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Phaeton, MD Rebecca Phaeton, MD View Researcher Profile

Locations

Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585

Clinical Trials

Communication preferences related to over screening for cancer among older adults

Groups, Classes and Support

Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Prevention and Screening

You may not be able to completely prevent cervical cancer, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Those include:

  • Get the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. It can help prevent HPV, which is a common cause of cervical cancer. The vaccine is most effective when it’s given at a younger age — as early as 11 or as old as 26.
  • Get a Pap test. A Pap test looks for precancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. The best way to prevent cancer is to find precancerous cells before they turn into cancer. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Practice safe sex. Always use a condom to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV. 

Screening

Every woman should have an annual pelvic exam, which may not always include a Pap test. In recent years, recommendations have changed for how often women should have a Pap test. Talk to your doctor about what’s right given your personal and family medical history.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Cervical cancer is most often discovered after a Pap test finds abnormal cells on the cervix.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

If you experience any of these symptoms, or have other concerns about your reproductive health, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.

Diagnosis

During your appointment, your doctor will complete a comprehensive exam, including:

  • Asking questions about personal and family medical history
  • Pelvic exam
  • Pap test

If any of the tests or exams have abnormal results, your doctor will order additional tests. Those may include a colposcopy. Your doctor will examine your cervix with a magnifying glass, similar to a Pap test. A biopsy will be collected if your doctor sees any abnormalities. The tissue from the biopsy will be sent to a lab to identify pre-cancerous cells. 

Your doctor may order another biopsy if tests show abnormal results. Diagnostic tests may also be ordered to learn more about the severity of abnormalities and if cancerous cells have spread. 

Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologic oncologist if cervical cancer is found. Together, you and your gynecologic oncologist will work to create a plan that is right for you. 

Cervical Cancer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the U.S. It is most often discovered after a Pap test finds abnormal cells on the cervix. It is important to keep in mind that an abnormal test result does not mean you have cervical cancer. However, if the abnormal cells are left untreated, it can lead to cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that causes most cases of cervical cancer. Most individuals have HPV at one point in their lives, but it often goes away on its own. However, some types of HPV can cause cancerous cells to grow.

Gynecologic Oncology at Penn State Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care for women with pelvic malignancies, including cervical cancer. 

We are also major site for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH)-sponsored Gynecologic Oncology Group. This helps us deliver the latest advances in care. 

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Treating cancers of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tube and ovary 
  • Evaluating abnormal or difficult Pap smears results
  • Evaluating and treating dysplasia of the vulva, vagina or cervix
  • Evaluating and treating pelvic masses
  • Evaluating and treating abnormal uterine bleeding and endometrial hyperplasia 
  • Gynecologic surgery, including medically compromised, or surgically challenging cases
  • Chemotherapy
  • Investigational therapies for patients with gynecologic cancers or malignancies
  • Collaborative treatment plans with local oncologists for chemotherapy, radiation, and follow-up treatment
  • Second opinions
You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
Leah Cream, MD Leah Cream, MD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Jennifer Rosenberg, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematology/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Leonard Tuanquin, MD Leonard Tuanquin, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Joshua Kesterson, MD Joshua Kesterson, MD View Researcher Profile
Rebecca Phaeton, MD Rebecca Phaeton, MD View Researcher Profile
Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585
Communication preferences related to over screening for cancer among older adults
Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

You may not be able to completely prevent cervical cancer, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Those include:

  • Get the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. It can help prevent HPV, which is a common cause of cervical cancer. The vaccine is most effective when it’s given at a younger age — as early as 11 or as old as 26.
  • Get a Pap test. A Pap test looks for precancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. The best way to prevent cancer is to find precancerous cells before they turn into cancer. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Practice safe sex. Always use a condom to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV. 

Screening

Every woman should have an annual pelvic exam, which may not always include a Pap test. In recent years, recommendations have changed for how often women should have a Pap test. Talk to your doctor about what’s right given your personal and family medical history.

Cervical cancer is most often discovered after a Pap test finds abnormal cells on the cervix.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cervical cancer include:

  • Bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

If you experience any of these symptoms, or have other concerns about your reproductive health, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.

Diagnosis

During your appointment, your doctor will complete a comprehensive exam, including:

  • Asking questions about personal and family medical history
  • Pelvic exam
  • Pap test

If any of the tests or exams have abnormal results, your doctor will order additional tests. Those may include a colposcopy. Your doctor will examine your cervix with a magnifying glass, similar to a Pap test. A biopsy will be collected if your doctor sees any abnormalities. The tissue from the biopsy will be sent to a lab to identify pre-cancerous cells. 

Your doctor may order another biopsy if tests show abnormal results. Diagnostic tests may also be ordered to learn more about the severity of abnormalities and if cancerous cells have spread. 

Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologic oncologist if cervical cancer is found. Together, you and your gynecologic oncologist will work to create a plan that is right for you.