A cancer of the lower end of the womb (cervix) in women. Cervical cancer begins as an abnormal change to the cells called dysplasia. Most abnormal cell changes are harmless but some may progress to cancer. Early detection and screening through regular PAP smears is the key to better treatment outcomes, before cancer develops.
The main cause of cervical cancer is from infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Tobacco smoking increases the risk of all cancers, including cervical cancer. Being HIV-positive may increase the risk of developing cervical cancer.
Early cervical cancer is asymptomatic. Signs of progressive disease include abnormal bleeding and vaginal discharge. Cervical cancer is treated with surgery, cryotherapy and chemotherapy and is preventable with the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) and regular Pap smears (recommended annually for women with HIV).
Smoking tobacco substantially increases the risk of all cancers. If you smoke, and are ready to consider quitting, speak to your doctor about treatment and support to assist you to quit smoking. Also see: www.qpp.org.au/living-hiv-staying-healthy/support-quit-smoking