Cervical Cancer - Overview
When you’re informed, you’re empowered. For the complete word on cervical cancer - including information on prevention, symptoms, and how to fight it - explore this reference center.
At first, getting the facts on cervical cancer can seem like an overwhelming task. But it’s critically important that you understand the disease, your risk factors, and what you can do to prevent (or fight) this type of cancer. So, we have broken down our library of facts into smaller, easy-to-understand elements.
Cervical cancer is a highly preventable form of gynecologic cancer that begins in the cervix. (The cervix is found in the lower, narrow end of the uterus. It connects the upper part of the uterus to the vagina or birth canal.)
When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
Every woman has some risk for developing cervical cancer. But certain factors can increase that risk. Most instances of cervical cancer occur in women age 30 or older.
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. It is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sexual activity. In addition to genital warts, HPV can cause vaginal and vulvar cancers. And most researchers believe that there are even more cancers possibly linked to HPV. There are over 100 strains of HPV.
Some are considered low risk, others high risk. It is important to note, however, that while HPV infection is common in women, it rarely results in cervical cancer.
Other risk factors include:
-Having multiple sex partners
-Smoking (increases HPV risk, inhibits ability to surpass infection, and lessens the effectiveness of treatment)
-Weakened immune system (due to HIV or medication that can weaken the immune system)
-Not receiving regular Pap tests, as recommended by your doctor, increases the risk of HPV infection progressing into cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is highly preventable. To lower your chances of developing it, make sure you:
-Consult your doctor about getting vaccinated for HPV
-Get recommended Pap testing to screen for cervical precancer
-Follow up with your doctor if you have abnormal Pap test results
-Limit sexual partners
-Do not smokeLast Updated on Thursday, 04 August 2011 15:33