Cervical cancer, which is another type of uterine cancer, is slow-growing and malignant. (Malignant simply means that it spreads). It forms on the surface cells of the cervix which is located in the pelvic area. The cervix is a strong muscle and is actually the lower part of the uterus, and connects the uterus to the birth canal.
There are two main types of cancerous cells in cervical cancer.
Squamous cell carcinomas: These begin in the thin skin-like cells which line the bottom of the cervix. 80 to 90 percent of all cervical cancers begin in this area.
Adenocarcinomas: These begin in the glandular cells which line the upper part of the cervix. 10 to 20 percent of cervical cancers begin in this area.
Cervical cancer is usually is found among younger women who are sexually active, and the cancer is usually caused by the human papillomavirus, (HPV). The virus is spread through sexual contact, and can survive in the body for many years before it causes cancer to form. In some cases the cancer never forms, even though the HPV is present.
There is a new vaccine against the HPV virus which promises that by the year 2022 there will be a lot fewer cases of this cancer due to the new vaccine. How they can make these kind of claims is beyond me, because the vaccine is still to new, and we do not know of all the side-effects associated with it.
The symptoms of cervical cancer may not appear until the later stages of the cancer, but, abnormal or pre-cancerous cells can be detected with a pap smear before the cancer occurs.
The symptoms can include heavy bleeding, in between or while menstruating, or after menopause, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, bleeding after intercourse, weight loss, and fatigue.
Those at highest risk for developing cervical cancer are young girls who became sexually active before the age of 18, and those who have had multiple partners, or are with someone who has had multiple partners.
Those who have other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), are also more prone to developing this cancer.
Those who smoke, use condoms, tampons, and birth control pills are also at higher risk.
A weak immune system also puts one at risk, because it is the immune system that is responsible for fighting the cancer cells.
It is interesting to note that nuns rarely develop this type of cancer, simply because of their lifestyle.