Cervical cancer, which is preventable in women who have regular screening, using the Pap test. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus or womb, and the uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ that a fetus (baby) grows in during pregnancy. Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women world-wide. However, it is much less common in the United States because of widespread Pap test screening.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus), is a sexually transmitted virus. HPV infection increases a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted and can infect the genital area of men AND women. Spread by skin to skin contact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. However, more than 90% of cases (9 out of 10) clear up on their own. That is one reason it’s always important for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to be diagnosed and treated as early and completely as possible.
Key Risk Factors for Cancer of the Cervix include:
- has or has had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- has had repeated or chronic infections of the female organs
- became sexually active before 18 years of age
- having had many sexual partners
- engaging in unprotected sex
- having had cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells in the cervix)
- having had human papilloma virus (HPV) infection or genital warts
- not having regular Pap tests
Key Warning Signals for Possible Cancer of the Cervix:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- any unusual vaginal discharge
- a discharge with a bad odor
- frequent discharges
- a persistent and heavy discharge
For more information on cervical cancer, HPV and the HPV Controversy, visit our Major Killers and Disablers area on Cervical Cancer.