Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If you're thought to have cervical cancer, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating gynecologic cancers (gynecologic oncologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including anything that increases your risk of STIs, such as early sexual activity, multiple partners or unprotected sex.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments are available, and what side effects can I expect?
- What is the prognosis?
- How often will I need follow-up visits after I finish treatment?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
- What symptoms are you experiencing? How severe are they?
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms? Have they changed over time?
- Have you had regular Pap tests since you became sexually active? Have you ever had abnormal Pap test results in the past?
- Have you ever been treated for a cervical condition?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with an STI?
- Have you ever taken medications that suppress your immune system?
- Do you or have you ever smoked? How much?
- Do you want to have children in the future?
June 30, 2016
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- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 1, 2016.
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- Saslow D, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2012;137:516.
- Straughn JM, et al. Management of early-stage cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 1, 2016.
- Cervical cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
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- Genital HPV infection: Fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm. Accessed April 1, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Cervical cancer screening. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Palliative care. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed April 22, 2016.