Cervical cancer is a slowly progressing disease, which affects the lining of the mouth of the uterus, known as cervix.
Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth and proliferation of cells. Cancer that affects the lining of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus, is known as cervical cancer
The inner lining of the cervix comprises of two cell types, the squamous and the columnar cells. The region in the cervix where there is a transition from one cell type to another is called the squamo-columnar junction. This is the area that is most prone to develop cancer. Cancer of the cervix
develops gradually and becomes full-blown over a period of time. The abnormal changes that the cervical cells develop transform them to a pre-cancerous state, which is referred to as 'Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia' (CIN). Based on its degree or intensity, these changes are classified as low grade CIN and high grade CIN. This may eventually progress to form a localized cancer. The cancer later spreads to adjacent tissues and even distant organs.
Cervical cancer is mostly caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
. The risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking
, unprotected sex
, having many children, prolonged use of birth control pills, or having HIV infection
. A pap-smear test
is done to find out any changes occurring in the cervical cells before they turn into cancer; the sample for the test is obtained from the squamo-columnar junction.
Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Cervical cancer treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy