Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the cervix. It usually develops slowly over time. The cells of the cervix may undergo changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells develop in the cervix. Over time, if not treated early, these cells may develop into cancer cells. Early cervical cancer may not show noticeable signs or symptoms, so yearly check-ups with your physician are important, including a pap smear to check for abnormal cells.
Risk factors for cervical cancer include the following:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause
- Multiple births
- Having first sexual intercourse at a young age
- Oral contraceptive use
- Weakened immune system