Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is most commonly caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and is one of the most preventable types of cancer with the use of vaccines and regular screenings.
Cervical cancer typically develops slowly over time, often with no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. As it progresses, symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, and abnormal vaginal discharge. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.
Cervical cancer is often detected through a Pap smear test, which involves collecting cells from the cervix and examining them for abnormal changes. If abnormal cells are detected, further testing such as a colposcopy or biopsy may be recommended.
Treatment for cervical cancer depends on the stage and extent of the cancer, as well as the individual’s overall health. Options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. In some cases, a hysterectomy may be recommended to remove the cervix and uterus.
Regular cervical cancer screenings, including Pap smears and HPV testing, can help detect abnormal cells early and prevent the development of cervical cancer. HPV vaccines are also available to prevent infection with the types of HPV that are most commonly associated with cervical cancer.