"Quiet" disease shows symptoms late.

Position:Cervical Cancer - Disease/Disorder overview

Cervical cancer is one of the most common reproductive cancers in females, but women can take steps to reduce their risk of developing it "Many cervical cancer cases could be prevented, or at least caught early, if all women received proper screening for this disease," asserts physician Robert Miller of Wellspring Oncology, Pinellas Park, Ra. "Simply visiting your gynecologist once a year can greatly reduce a woman's risk."

Though cervical cancer once was the leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S., cases have dropped significantly over the past 50 years. This sharp decrease is due largely to the development of better medical screening. Still, this year, approximately 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with it. Nearly one-third of these individuals will not survive.

"Cervical cancer doesn't discriminate," indicates Miller. "All women of all ages are at risk for developing the disease. However, there are certain factors that can increase a woman's risk."

The most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus, or HPV. This is passed from one person to another through sexual contact and can infect the cervix. However, for most individuals, HPV will go away on its own without ever causing cervical cancer.

While HPV is the primary cause, it is not the only...

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