As per the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. With the incidence of the disease increasing worldwide, it has become crucial to understand the various aspects of the diseases and what one can do to beat the condition.
Cancer is a disease that begins when cells in any part of the body begin to grow uncontrollably. Cervical cancer is one that begins in the lining of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus which opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer is one of the preventive cancers if detected early. The condition develops very slowly which begins as a condition called dysplasia; the abnormal development/growth of a tissue.
The condition is caused due to infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are various kinds of HPV’s, however cervical cancer is caused due to infection caused specifically by types 16 and 18. Not all types of HPV viruses cause cervical cancer, some cause conditions like genital warts. Unlike many other cancers for which there is no designated cause, we know the exact causative factor of cervical cancer. Most adult women would have been affected by the HPV virus at some point in their life. In most cases, the infection goes away on its own without any treatment. However, in some cases the infection stays for prolonged periods, leading to cervical cancer. In addition to the HPV, unhealthy lifestyle practices like smoking also puts a woman at the risk of developing cervical cancer.