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The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening tests. The tests for cervical cancer screening are the HPV test and the Pap test. These tests can be done alone or at the same time (called a co-test). Regular screening has been shown to prevent cervical cancers and save lives. The most important thing to remember is to get screened regularly, no matter which test you get.
Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment of pre-cancers and cancer. Being aware of any signs and symptoms of cervical cancer can also help avoid delays in diagnosis.
For more information about using the HPV test and the Pap 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.
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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.
Egemen D, Cheung LC, Chen X, et al. Risk Estimates Supporting the 2019 ASCCP Risk-Based Management Consensus Guidelines. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2020;24(2):132-143. doi:10.1097/LGT.0000000000000529.
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.
Fontham, ETH, Wolf, AMD, Church, TR, et al. Cervical Cancer Screening for Individuals at Average Risk: 2020 Guideline Update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21628.
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.
Perkins RB, Guido RS, Castle PE, et al. 2019 ASCCP Risk-Based Management Consensus Guidelines for Abnormal Cervical Cancer Screening Tests and Cancer Precursors. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2020;24(2):102-131. doi:10.1097/LGT.0000000000000525.
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 Revised: July 30, 2020
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