Can Cervical Cancer Be Found Early?

The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screenings with a Pap test (which may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus or HPV). Being aware of any signs and symptoms of cervical cancer can also help avoid delays in diagnosis. Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment of pre-cancers and cancer.

For more information about using the Pap test and the HPV test to find cervical cancer early, see The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Cuzick J, Myers O, Hunt WC, et al. A population-based evaluation of cervical screening in the United States: 2008-2011. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014;23:765-73.

Eifel P, Klopp AH, Berek JS, and Konstantinopoulos A. Chapter 74: Cancer of the Cervix, Vagina, and Vulva. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2019.

Jhungran A, Russell AH, Seiden MV, Duska LR, Goodman A, Lee S, et al. Chapter 84: Cancers of the Cervix, Vulva, and Vagina. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2020.

National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Cervical Cancer Prevention – Patient Version. 2019. https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-prevention-pdq. Updated March 8, 2019. Accessed on November 1, 2019.

Saslow D, Solomon D, Lawson H, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62:147-172.

Sawaya GF, Smith-McCune K, Kuppermann M. Cervical Cancer Screening: More Choices in 2019. JAMA. 2019;321(20):2018–2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.4595

Schiffman M, Castle PE, Jeronimo J, Rodriguez AC, Wacholder S. Human papillomavirus and cervical cancer. Lancet. 2007;370:890-907.

Last Medical Review: January 3, 2020 Last Revised: January 3, 2020

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.