Cervical Cancer Screening Specialist

The Women's Health Center

OB-GYNs located in Fountain Valley, CA

Like many cancers, cervical cancer doesn’t present symptoms in its early stages. Women from Orange County and the Greater Los Angeles area can have regular cervical cancer screenings at The Women’s Health Center, located in Fountain Valley, California.

Cervical Cancer Screening Q & A

What Is Cervical Cancer Screening?

The Pap test is a routine screening test used to find abnormal cell changes of the cervix and to screen for cervical cancer. Regular Pap test screening is the most important tool in finding and treating cervical cell changes before they progress to cervical cancer. The recommended Pap test schedule is based on your age and things that increase your risk. Talk to your doctor about how often to have this test. If cervical cancer is suspected, your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam, including a pelvic exam and a Pap test.

Tests to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer include:

  • A colposcopy and cervical biopsy. This test can find out whether and where cancer cells are on the surface of the cervix.
  • An endocervical biopsy (or curettage). This test is to find out whether cancer cells are in the cervical canal.
  • A cone biopsy or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). These tests are sometimes recommended to remove cervical tissue for examination under a microscope.

What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

Abnormal cervical cell changes rarely cause symptoms. If cervical cell changes progress to cancer, symptoms may include:

  • Vaginal bleeding that isn't normal, such as between menstrual periods, after sex, or after menopause
  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal discharge that isn't normal
  • A significant unexplained change in your menstrual cycle

The symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include:

  • Anemia because of abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Ongoing pelvic, leg, or back pain
  • Urinary problems because of blockage of a kidney or ureter
  • Leakage of urine or stool into the vagina. This can happen when an abnormal opening (fistula) has developed between the vagina and the bladder or rectum
  • Weight loss

How Often Should I Have a Cervical Cancer Screening?

Most women are recommended to have a pap smear every 3 years unless she is at a high risk of developing cervical cancer. After 30, the pap smear schedule can change to every 5 years if HPV testing is included and is negative.