Cervical Cancer

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:

National Centre for Gyanecological Cancers

The Cancer Council  Рunderstanding cervical cancer

Cervical Cancer Factsheet – Women’s Health Qld

FPWA Sexual Health Services

Glossary of terms related to cervical cancer

Guard Against Cervical Cancer

Lesbians, Sexual Health & Pap Smears

Pap Smears for Non-English Speaking Women

Pap Smear after hysterectomy

Pap Smears for older women

PapScreen Victoria 

NSW Cervical Screening Program 

International:

Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention

Cancer Research UK – Cervical Cancer

Be Cervix Savvy (UK)