How does cervical cancer affect the body?

Cervical cancer only affects women. It can be a minor issue if caught and treated early, causing only a little damage to the lining of the cervix, or it can become devastating to the female reproductive organs and more if left untreated. If cervical cancer becomes invasive, a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus and the cervix) may be necessary, leaving a woman unable to have children. The more cervical cancer has progressed, it is possible that a more radical version of a hysterectomy may be necessary, prompting removal of not only the uterus and cervix, but also the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the upper part of the vagina. If the ovaries are removed or damaged by radiation treatment, this could start early menopause. The cervical cancer could also spread to restrict use of the bladder or rectum, which may lead to their removal if they have become too damaged to function.

Larry E. Puls, MD
Gynecologic Oncology
Cancers of the cervix tend to cause most of their symptoms around the area where the cancer started (i.e., the pelvis). Examples of this would be vaginal discharge, bleeding with intercourse, blood in the urine or stools, and even pain if the cancer is advanced.
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Continue Learning about Cervical Cancer

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.