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It can be scary to learn that you have cervical cancer, or even an abnormal Pap smear result. Asking questions can help. Learning about your diagnosis makes it easier to handle.
However, there are also things you can do to reduce your risk of cervical cancer even before you have an abnormal Pap smear. For example, you can:
The HPV vaccine must be given to children at about age 11 in order to be effective.
If you’re having trouble making decisions about prevention, consider asking your doctor the following questions:
Millions of women each year learn that their Pap smear results are abnormal. Many of these women will never go on to develop cancer. Questions you should ask your doctor if you have an abnormal Pap smear include:
If your Pap smear result is abnormal, you may need a biopsy. A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample from your cervix. Questions you might ask your doctor before you have a biopsy include:
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, you may have questions about follow-up care. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the extent of your cancer before deciding on a treatment plan. Not all treatment options are right for all patients.
Questions you might ask include:
Coping with a cervical cancer diagnosis can be very difficult. It’s important to get all the information you can. Then, you can make more informed decisions about treatment and other follow-up care.
In addition to researching your cancer online, you may want to talk to someone directly. You can contact the National Cancer Institute at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237). The American Cancer Society also provides information by phone at 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345).
Finally, it’s important to have a support system in place to help with your recovery. Talk to friends and family about what help you may need. They can assist you with things like:
You may also want to look for cancer survivor groups in your area. Talking to other women who have survived a cervical cancer diagnosis can be a great source of emotional support. They may also be able to offer unique insights into local doctors and care options.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Jul 14, 2014: Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD
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