Cervical cancer is a disease that begins in the cervix, the narrow opening into the uterus from the vagina. According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. The Black Women’s Health Imperative states that of these, 2,000 are Black women. When diagnosed early, cervical cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer.
Even with the hope of a favorable treatment outcome, the initial news can be devastating and life changing. Treatment options depend greatly on the stage of the cancer and other factors such as age and overall health. It will be important to work with your doctor to become educated about which treatment option(s) are best for your situation, particularly if you are interested in family planning.
The following questions provided by the American Cancer Society will help you to have open conversations with your doctor and care team at diagnosis, during treatment and after. Come with your questions written down so that you don’t forget anything, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask them.
What type of cervical cancer do I have?
Has my cancer spread outside of the cervix?
What is the stage (extent) of my cancer and what does that mean?
Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
Do I need to see any other doctors or health professionals?
If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?