Any woman can be at risk for cervical cancer, a disease in which cells in the cervix begin to grow out of control. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer occurs in about 12,000 women in the United States each year.
Some health or lifestyle factors can put you at higher risk for cervical cancer, including having the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Other factors that can increase your risk for cervical cancer include:
- Having Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Having a weaker immune system
What are the symptoms?
In the early stages of cervical cancer, women may not have any symptoms. This is why it is so important to get routine cervical cancer screenings. In the advanced stages of cervical cancer, women may experience the following symptoms:
- Bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal such as bleeding or discharge between periods or after menopause
- Pain during sex
Cervical cancer can be caught early by receiving a regular Pap test, which checks for precancers or cell changes in the cervix. The Healthy Texas Woman program and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services provide these cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services.
If you are a woman between the ages of 21-65, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about getting a Pap test to check for cervical cancer. You can find a doctor using the Find a Doctor tool.
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, you may be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits from Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer. Contact a Breast and Cervical Cancer Services clinic to see if you qualify for this Medicaid program. You can use the Find a Doctor tool to find a clinic offering application assistance.