Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
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
- Write down your medical history, including other conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
- Note any personal history that increased your risk of sexually transmitted infection, such as early sexual activity, multiple partners or unprotected sex.
- Make a list of your medications. Include any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking, as well as all vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor can include:
- Do I have cervical cancer?
- Has my cancer spread?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- What are the possible side effects or complications of this treatment?
- Am I at risk of this condition recurring?
- How often will I need follow-up visits after I finish treatment?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms 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 in the past?
- Have you been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infections?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- Have you ever taken medications that suppress your immune system?
- Do you or did you smoke? How much?
- Do you want to have children in the future?
- Jhingran A, et al. Cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina. In: Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:1745.
- Cervical cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/cervical.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- What you need to know about cervical cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/cervix. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Noller KL. Intraepithelial neoplasia of the lower genital tract (cervix, vulva): Etiology, screening, diagnostic techniques, management. In: Katz VL, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1524/0.html. Accessed April 14, 2011.
- Cervical cancer screening. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/cervical_screening.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine: Gardasil. What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hpv-gardasil.pdf. Accessed April 14, 2011.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine: Cervarix. What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hpv-cervarix.pdf. Accessed April 14, 2011.
- Your first gynecologic visit. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp150.cfm. Accessed April 14, 2011.
- Moyer VA, et al. Screening for cervical cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. http://www.annals.org/content/early/2012/03/14/0003-4819-156-12-201206190-00424.full#sec-9. Accessed March 15, 2012.
- New screening guidelines for cervical cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/News/new-screening-guidelines-for-cervical-cancer. Accessed March 15, 2012.