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Cervical Cancer - A malignant growth or tumor that originates in the cervical tissue. Part of the female reproductive system, the cervix is the organ that connects the uterus and vagina, and dilates during childbirth. Cervical cancer is usually slow-growing. When cancer is confined to the outside layer of the cervix, it is called non-invasive cervical cancer. When cancer has spread from the surface of the cervix to tissue deeper in the cervix or to other parts of the body, it is called invasive cervical cancer.
The most common type of cervical cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (which comes from cells that lie on the surface of the cervix). Another type of cervical cancer is adenocarcinoma (which comes from cells that make up glands in the cervix). Infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) remains one of the primary risk factors for cervical cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, chlamydia infection, and use of oral contraceptives. Women ages 35-55 make up about half of reported cervical cancer cases.
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