Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the term for a malignant neoplasm arising from cells originating in the cervix uteri. One of the most common symptoms of cervical cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, but in some cases there may be no obvious symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Treatment usually consists of surgery (including local excision) in early stages, and chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in more advanced stages of the disease.

Cancer screening using the Pap smear can identify precancerous and potentially precancerous changes in cervical cells and tissue. Treatment of high-grade changes can prevent the development of cancer in many victims. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection appears to be a necessary factor in the development of almost all cases of cervical cancer. HPV vaccines effective against the two strains of this large family of viruses that currently cause approximately 70% of cases of cervical cancer have been licensed in the U.S, Canada, Australia, and the EU. Since the vaccines only cover some of the cancer-causing ("high-risk") types of HPV, women should seek regular Pap smear screening, even after vaccination.

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