In this procedure, a doctor uses a small brush or wooden scraper to remove a sample of cells from the cervix and upper vagina. The cells are placed on a slide and sent to a laboratory, where a microscope is used to check for abnormalities.
The test is painless and can be done at home or in the doctor's office along with a rectal exam. If blood is confirmed in the stool, more elaborate tests may be performed to find the source of the bleeding.
The good news is that the prognosis is excellent if the cancer is detected and treated early. Younger women who develop the condition tend to be obese or have a genetic predisposition.
Key facts Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 (1). Among women the 5 most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.