The cervix is part of the female reproductive system. Cancer of the cervix begins as normal cells transform over time into pre-cancerous and then cancerous cells. Most cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in women under the age of 50 through a regular Pap test. Because it is typically a slow growing cancer it is curable when found early.
It is estimated that more than 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2012. It is almost always caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Women can reduce their risk of cervical cancer by getting the HPV vaccine before they are sexually active. There are typically few symptoms for cervical cancer. Irregular bleeding between menstrual cycles or after menopause or unusually long and heavy menstrual cycles may be some of the rare symptoms.