What is Cervical Cancer?
Definition of Cervical Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells that originates in the tissues of the cervix, which is the muscular opening of the uterus into the vagina. More than 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and more than 4,000 women will die of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Below is a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments, plus links to more information.
What Causes Cervical Cancer? The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is found in nearly all cervical cancer cases. Most HPV infections will clear up on their own, but an ongoing HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer. Other factors that increase a woman's risk include smoking and a weakened immune system.
Is Cervical Cancer Contagious? No. However, HPV is contagious and is a common sexually transmitted infection.
Signs & Symptoms: Advanced cervical cancer may cause vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods or after menopause. Women with cervical cancer may also experience pain during sex and increased vaginal discharge. Other health conditions may also cause these symptoms, so see your doctor.
Treatment & Remedies: Treatment for cervical cancer may involve surgery (including a hysterectomy), radiation therapy to kill cancer cells at the cervix and chemotherapy to kill cancer throughout the body. All these treatments can affect fertility, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Regular screenings called pap smears can find abnormal, precancerous cervix cells so they can be removed before they turn cancerous.
- Most adults have been infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
- The vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix are FDA approved to fight some strains of HPV. This vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has proven controversial, however. [5 Dangerous Vaccination Myths]
Sources and More Information:
This information is not meant to provide specific medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. We recommend you consult a qualified health care professional for diagnoses and treatment advice, and call 9-1-1 in emergencies.
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