About Cervical Cancer
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that extends into the upper end of the vagina.
Most cervical cancers begin in an area called the transformation zone, where the inner part of the cervix closest to the uterus (the endocervix) meets the outer part of the cervix closest to the vagina (the ectocervix).
Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main risk factor for cervical cancer, causing more than 90 percent of those diagnosed in the Unites States.
This virus is so common that it affects nearly 70 percent of sexually active women.
Cervical cancer usually grows slowly, over many years. Before actual cancer cells in the cervix develop, the tissues of the cervix undergo changes at the cellular level — called dysplasia, or precancers.
At this early precancer stage, these dysplastic cells can often be removed and the condition cured with an office procedure.