Cervical Cancer


Cervical Cancer Care

When you have cancer, you need a team of support. A diagnosis of cervical cancer can feel overwhelming, but you are not alone. We are here for you every step of the way through your journey of diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer treatments have progressed significantly in recent years and survivor rates have increased as a result.

Coordinated Team Approach 

We provide coordinated care that includes the latest treatments in surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. And, we include each patient as an active partner in every step of care. Our goal is for patients to be involved in all decisions related to care and to always know the next step.

We want to help you feel healthy again. In addition to the critical medical treatments that you will receive, we offer health and wellness services that treat the whole body and mind, promoting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

On this page, learn more about cervical cancer services and what you can expect during your treatment journey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 231-392-8400 or CancerServices@mhc.net.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer starts in the cervix – the narrow end of the uterus that leads to the vagina.

There are two types of cervical cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: begins in the thin, flat cells that line the cervix

  • Adenocarcinoma: begins in cervical cells that make mucus and other fluids

Risk Factors

Most cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). 

Vaccines can help protect against HPV and are recommended for girls ages 11 - 12 years old. However, the vaccine can be given within the range of 9 to 26 years of age.


Early detection of pre-cancerous cells can help prevent cervical cancer. When pre-cancerous cells are found, they can be treated before progressing to cancer.

The Pap test is a simple procedure where a sample of cells are collected from the cervix and examined.

Another screening tool is the HPV test which can help determine who is at a greater risk for developing cervical cancer.

Learn More

What to Expect


Cancer treatment begins with a diagnosis. Through testing, your physician will determine your type of cancer. These test results will help us develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

We understand that this phase can be very difficult as you are waiting for answers. Our goal is to move you through the diagnostic process as quickly as possible in order to minimize the emotional strain.

Your Treatment Plan

We offer a coordinated approach to care that varies based on your specific needs.

Your case may be discussed at our weekly Tumor Board meetings. This multidisciplinary team of physicians and support staff discusses patients’ care plans and makes recommendations for multiple types of cancer.

After testing and consultations are complete, your gynecologic oncologist will explain to you the type, stage, and characteristics of the cancer and discuss treatment. You may be referred to a radiation oncologist depending on your needs and care plan.

Treatment for your cancer will depend upon the type, location, and stage of the cancer. Other factors that impact treatment decisions include your age and other health conditions.

Pre-cancerous lesions may be treated with:

  • Conization: Removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue containing precancerous cells

  • Laser ablation: Removes tissue

  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): Abnormal cells are removed with a wire loop heated by electric current

Your treatment plan to treat cancerous lesions may include a combination of any one of the following approaches:

Invasive cervical cancer is generally treated with surgery or radiation combined with chemotherapy.

An advanced disease may be treated with chemotherapy alone. Targeted chemotherapy also is an option for women with cervical cancer that has spread, is recurrent, or persistent.

Learn More about Cervical Cancer Treatment

Health and Wellness at the Cowell Family Cancer Center

We believe that everything matters in cancer treatment.

The Health and Wellness Suite at the Cowell Family Cancer Center in Traverse City offers space for physical, emotional and spiritual healing through integrative therapies, meditation, exercise, nutrition and the arts.

Services are available for patients, staff, family members, caregivers and the community.

Services include:

Meet our Care Team

Our team of specialists provides screening, diagnosis, and treatment for cervical cancer. Your care team may include:

Gynecologic Oncologist: A physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancers of the female reproductive organs including cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. Gynecologic oncologists have completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency and then pursued subspecialty training through a gynecologic oncology fellowship which includes surgical, chemotherapeutic, radiation, and research techniques that are important to providing the best care for these types of cancer.

Radiation Oncologists: Physicians with an expertise in the use of radiation therapy for treating cancer.

The Cowell Family Cancer Center Support Team

Our care coordination team is here to support you and includes a nurse and nurse practitioner who will ensure that your next steps are planned and communicated.

Our compassionate team also includes a dietitian, a social worker, palliative/supportive care providers, and financial navigators to ensure that your individual needs are addressed.

For more information regarding Cowell Family Cancer Center services or to be transferred to a regional network facility, call 231-392-8400 and speak with one of our resource specialists.

Availability of support services varies according to the specific regional cancer network location.

Treatment Locations

You can find treatment and resources for cervical cancer at our Cowell Family Cancer Center on the Munson Medical Center campus in Traverse City. This state-of-the-art cancer center opened in 2016 and provides most cancer services, including diagnosis, treatment, integrative therapies, follow-up, and supportive care.

Medical oncology follow up visits and chemotherapy may be available to you close to home through our regional cancer network.

Clinical Trials for Cervical Cancer

Clinical trials are studies that involve people and are the final research step in a long process that begins with lab research. You may want to consider participating in a clinical trial, which gives you access to the latest cancer treatments.

Depending on the clinical trial, part of your care may need to occur in Traverse City.

We have participated in cancer clinical trials for more than 30 years through the National Cancer Institute. This program offers our patients the chance to participate in large, national research trials while remaining at home in northern Michigan.

To learn more about clinical trials for cervical cancer, visit these websites or talk to your doctor: