Cervical Cancer

diagram of cervixWhat is cervical cancer?

When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (or womb). The cervix connects the upper part of the uterus to the vagina (the birth canal). Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that can be prevented, by having screening tests routinely and following up, as necessary. It also is highly curable when found and treated early.

Who gets cervical cancer?

All women who have a cervix are at risk for cervical cancer. Women who have had a total hysterectomy, which includes the removal of the cervix, are not at risk for cervical cancer. (If you are not sure if your cervix was removed during a hysterectomy, ask your doctor.) Cervical cancer occurs most often in women over the age of 30. Each year, approximately 14,100 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, and used to be the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. However, in the past 40 years, there has been a major decrease in the number of deaths from cervical cancer. This decline largely is due to many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find precancerous changes that can be treated before they turn into cancer.

Risk Factors

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer campaign

Learn about the types of gynecologic cancers and their symptoms