Cervical cancer occurs when cancer cells grow in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cancerous cells divide uncontrollably to the point where a growth or tumor forms.
A cause of cervical cancer can possibly be the transmission of human papilloma virus, or strains of HPV, through sexual contact.
Risk factors include having HPV, having a history of cervical dysplasia, having a mother who took the drug diethylstilbestrol and having HIV and/or AIDS.
Symptoms can include abnormal menstrual bleeding; bleeding after sexual intercourse, a pelvic exam or douching; vaginal bleeding after menopause; and having an increase in vaginal discharge that isn’t blood. However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. It’s important to get regular pap smears to make sure you don’t have abnormal cells in your cervix that could lead to cancer.