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Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a tumour that affects the cervix, which is a necklike part, the narrow passage at the lower end of the uterus. Cervical cancer is invasive, meaning that the tumour can spread from the surface of cervix into the deeper tissues, and consequently to other nearby structures (e.g. vagina, nerve, pelvis and kidney), or even to distant organs such as liver, lung and brain.

The development of cervical cancer is a series of events starting from abnormal cell changes. The majority of these changes will regress to normal while some may progress to cancer over years. The difference between early cell changes and cancer is that cancer possesses the ability to invade adjacent tissue and spread to distant body sites while cell changes do not.

Is Cervical Cancer Common?

Cervical cancer was found to be the fourth most common cancer among females in Hong Kong in 2003. There is a 1 in 112 chance of developing cervical cancer in the lifetime.

How Can Cervical Cancer be Prevented?

The risk factors for cervical cancer include:
- Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Sexual activity onset at an early age
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Smoking
- Lack of vegetables and fruits in the diet

Cervical cancer can be prevented by controlling the above risk factors, such as practising safer sex, avoiding smoking, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Regular cervical smear screening is also proved to be an effective way in reducing cervical cancer incidence and death.

There are 3 vaccines developed and licensed for use in preventing cervical cancers. More information are available here.

Women should take advantage of the current technologies available in preventing cervical cancer.

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