Cancer is a disease in which body cells grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cells grow out of control in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix connects the vagina (birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus. The uterus (womb) is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.
All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. Long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another during sex. At least half of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives, but few women will get cervical cancer as aresulf of this.
Cervical cancer is highly preventable in most Western countries because screening tests and a vaccine (HPV vaccine) to prevent HPV infections are available. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.
Content source: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention