The cervix is the lower part of the womb (uterus). The uterus has two parts — the upper part (body) where a baby grows, and the lower part (cervix). The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix, begins on the surface of the cervix. As per Globocan 2020 cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among females worldwide and second most common cancer among females in India. There are two main types of cancer of the cervix — squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. About 80% to 90% are squamous cell carcinomas, 10%-20% are adenocarcinomas and other varieties are rare.

Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer. When exposed to HPV, a woman's immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small group of women, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cells on the surface of the cervix to become cancer cells.

SYMPTOMS

Early-stage cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of more-advanced cervical cancer include:

  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse
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