Cervical cancer: Cancer of the entrance to the womb (uterus). The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.
A number of risk factors have been identified for cervical cancer. Women who begin having sexual intercourse before age 18 and have many sexual partners are at increased risk for cervical cancer. Likewise, if their partners begin having sexual intercourse at a young age and have many sexual partners, especially one who had cervical cancer. The relevance of sexual history is believe to have to do with the chance of infection with the human papillomaviruses (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus, which may trigger cervical cancer. Other risk factors include exposure before birth to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), smoking, and immunodeficiency.
Quick GuideCervical Cancer Symptoms, Stages, and Treatment
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Cancer Report Newsletter
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016