Is a malignant tumour which develops (usually slowly) in the soft tissue of the cervix, and is causally linked to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Genital HPV is a very common infection, and is easily passed from one person to another – 50 to 80% of sexually active women will be infected with HPV at least once in their lives.
If you are having regular Pap smears (every 1-2 years) you will probably not experience any symptoms of cervical cancer. This is because cervical cancer can take up to 10 years to develop, which is why your best defence is a regular Pap smear. A regular smear will pick up cell changes, before they can spread into surrounding tissue.
If you are not having regular smears and are sexually active, or have ever been sexually active, please go to a doctor, for a Pap smear – which may be a bit confronting and/or a tiny bit embarrassing – but is a whole lot better than getting cervical cancer. Remember, the treatment outcome of this cancer is very good if you are diagnosed as early as possible.
Some useful websites with more information and resources: