Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Provider photo for Nell Suby

Nell Suby, MD

Gyn Oncology

Welcome to My Doctor Online, a web site that my colleagues and I developed to make it easier for you to take care of your healthcare needs. On this site you will find answers to many of your questions about my clinical practice. Also included are several online features that will allow you to e-mail me, check your laboratory results and refill prescriptions. I hope you find its content informative and useful.

My Offices

Sacramento Medical Center
Appt/Advice: 916-614-4055

See all office information »

subContentURL_nobackslash = resources/dc/condition

firstActiveTabUrlFragment = resources/dc/conditionlist

subContentURL_nobackslash = resources/dc/condition

JSP2Include = /mdo/presentation/conditions/condition.jsp?nocache=true

Overview

Almost all cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be passed on during sex. If you have cervical cancer, please know that it is not anyone’s fault and you are not alone. We’ll help you learn about this condition and create a treatment plan.

Cervical cancer usually begins as abnormal changes (precancer) in cells on the surface of the cervix. The cervix is the narrow, lower part of the uterus. 

In the early stage, treatment can stop precancerous cells from becoming cancerous. If left untreated, in its later stages cervical cancer can:

  • Damage nearby organs and spread to lymph nodes.
  • Enter the bloodstream and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. 

Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Risk Factors

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can be passed on during sex. However, most women who have HPV never get cervical cancer.  

We know that HPV:

  • Has many variations, most of which are harmless and go away on their own.
  • Has a few variations that can turn into cervical cancer and a few that can cause genital warts.
  • Is carried, for a few months or years, by most people who have ever had sex. 

Your risks for HPV and for cervical cancer are affected by your general health and life choices, including:

  • Having many sexual partners (or having a partner who has had many sexual partners) increases HPV risk.
  • Smoking doubles cervical cancer risk in women who have HPV. Secondhand smoke exposure may also increase this risk.
  • Having a weakened immune system – due to HIV, chemotherapy, or other conditions – can increase HPV risk.

Symptoms

In its early stages cervical cancer may have no noticeable symptoms. 

As the cancer grows, one or more of these symptoms may occur:

  • Bleeding between periods or after having sex.
  • Unusually heavy bleeding during periods.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Period-like bleeding after menopause.
  • Ongoing discharge from the vagina that has an abnormal color or odor.

Contact your doctor or nurse practitioner if you have symptoms or have missed your last screening exam. Catching cervical cancer early is the key to successful treatment.

Screening

Our best tools for combating cervical cancer are screening and early diagnosis. These give us the best chance to treat you successfully.

We screen you by doing a simple vaginal exam and Pap test:

  • We look at and feel your cervix to check for abnormalities.
  • We take a sample (a swab) of cells from your cervix.
  • A laboratory checks the Pap test for abnormal cells.

How often you should have a Pap test depends on your age and risk level. We may test you for HPV at the same time. If you’re unsure how often you should be screened, please ask us.  

You can reduce your risk for cervical cancer by:

  • Getting regular screening exams.
  • Practicing safe sex.
  • Avoiding smoking and other tobacco products. 

If you’ve had cervical cancer, get regular follow-up exams. If the cancer returns, we can catch and treat it early.

Additional References:

Diagnosis

You may have a colposcopy examination as part of the diagnosis process. We do this exam if:

  • You have an abnormal Pap test.
  • Your HPV tests are consistently positive.
  • Your cervix looks or feels abnormal.

We use an instrument called a colposcope, which has a bright light and a magnifying lens. Anesthesia isn’t needed.

During the exam, we:

  • Look for abnormal areas on your cervix.
  • Remove a small piece of tissue (biopsy), if needed. 

A laboratory checks the tissue sample under a microscope.

If precancer is found, we may talk with you about treatment. Regular follow-up exams are important.

If cervical cancer is found, other tests may be used to learn if cancer has spread, including:

  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan.
  • CT (computed tomography) scan, which creates a series of X-ray images.
  • Cone biopsy. Under anesthesia, part of the cervix is removed, then checked for cancer.

Treatments

The treatment options for cervical cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Our recommendations for you are based on the size of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread (stage).

Together, we will create the best treatment plan for you.

Additional References:

Your Care with Me

If you suspect that you might have cervical cancer, your first contact will typically be with your personal gynecologist, who will evaluate your health and symptoms. If specialty care is needed, your personal physician will place a referral for an appointment in my department.

During your office visit, we will discuss your medical and family history and I will perform a physical exam. I will explain the findings of your exam and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We will discuss treatment options and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Related Health Tools:

Podcasts
Prepare for Your Procedure

See more Health Tools »

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

Content loading spinner