Overview

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.

Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer.

When exposed to HPV, a woman's immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small group of women, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cells on the surface of the cervix to become cancer cells.

You can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by having screening tests and receiving a vaccine that protects against HPV infection.

Cervical cancer care at Mayo Clinic

June 30, 2016
References
  1. What you need to know about cervical cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/wyntk-cervical-cancer. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  2. Lentz GM, et al. Malignant diseases of the cervix: Microinvasive and invasive carcinoma: Diagnosis and management. In: Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  3. Frumovitz M. Invasive cervical cancer: Epidemiology, risk factors, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  4. Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina. In: Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  5. Feldman S, et al. Screening for cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  6. Saslow D, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2012;137:516.
  7. Straughn JM, et al. Management of early-stage cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  8. Cervical cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Jan. 3, 2016.
  9. Straughn JM, et al. Management of locally advanced cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  10. Genital HPV infection: Fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm. Accessed April 1, 2016.
  11. AskMayoExpert. Cervical cancer screening. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  12. Palliative care. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed April 22, 2016.