Can cervical cancer be found early?
The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening with a Pap test (which may be combined with a test for human papilloma virus or HPV). As Pap testing became routine in this country during the past half century, finding pre-invasive lesions (pre-cancers) of the cervix became far more common than finding invasive cancer. Being alert to any signs and symptoms of cervical cancer (discussed in the next section) can also help avoid unnecessary delays in diagnosis. Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment and prevents any early cervical cell changes from becoming cancerous.
More information about using the Pap test and the HPV test to find cervical cancer early, including the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines for cervical cancer screening can be found in our document Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
Last Medical Review: 09/19/2014
Last Revised: 01/29/2016