Cervical Cancer Basics
Learn the link between HPV and cervical cancer, how to recognize the symptoms, and how Pap tests can help prevent it.
The cervix is the lower end of a woman's uterus. It connects the uterus and the vagina. Cervical cancer can develop when cells lining the cervix grow in a disorderly fashion.
This cancer is usually caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is spread through sexual contact. Most women who are sexually active have been exposed to HPV. In most cases, a woman's body can fight HPV. In some, it can cause cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can be prevented, and it can be cured if it's found early. But it usually has no symptoms. The only way to detect it is with a Pap test (or smear), a standard screening test for women. Pap tests save lives. Most women who have died of cervical cancer had not had a recent Pap test.