When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that can be prevented by regular screening, limiting sexual partners, use of condoms and not smoking. It is also one of the most treatable of the gynecologic cancers with a high survival rate.
All women with a cervix are at risk for cervical cancer, but cervical cancer is found most often in women over the age of 30. Each year, approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. In early stages, cervical cancer may not have any signs or symptoms, but in later stages, cervical cancer may cause unusual bleeding or discharge.
Although almost all cervical cancers are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), other factors that can increase your risk include HIV/AIDS, obesity, long-term use of birth control pills, childbirth of three or more children and a history of smoking.
Cervical cancer risk can be reduced by protecting yourself from HPV, regularly receiving Pap tests and not smoking.