As the name suggests, cervical cancer occurs when cancerous cells grow in the cervix. It’s the fourth most common type of cancer in women, and it’s classified in four different stages depending on how much it’s spread to other parts of the body.
You might have heard of your cervix but not be totally sure where it is. It’s the small, round, firm passageway that connects the bottom of your uterus to your vagina. Over the last couple of decades, medical professionals have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the preventative measures you can take against cervical cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than nine of every ten cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus infection (HPV), so attending your pap smear and having the HPV vaccine could be life-saving.
“Cervical cancer, while we have certainly come a long way in reducing incidence and mortality over the past few decades, still requires our full attention,” says Dr. Angela Jones, board-certified obstetrics and gynecology expert.
“In accordance with the American Cancer Society, approximately 14,100 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed, and roughly 4,280 women will die from cervical cancer in the United States in 2022.”
Below, Dr. Jones explains how the different stages of cervical cancer are classified, plus when and how to book regular pap smears.