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Cervical cancer affects millions of women across the globe each year.
Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix – the lowest part of the uterus. Cancer starts when the cells in the body begin to grow out of control and can rapidly spread to other parts of the body.
Most cervical cancers begin in the cells in the transformation zone – the place where two cell types (glandular and squamous) meet. The exact location of the transformation zone changes as you get older and if you give birth. Cells that meet in the transformation zone do not suddenly change into cancer, but instead gradually develop abnormal changes that are called pre-cancerous. Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes, only some women with pre-cancers of the cervix will develop cancer. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without any treatment.
The best way to prevent cervical cancer is through regular pap tests, HPV tests, or both. These tests should be started early, as soon as age 21.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed, you can find resources and support on the Cancer Support Community website.
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