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Cervical cancer (also known as cervix cancer or cervix uteri cancer) is a common type of cancer that starts in the cervix. There are many risk factors, including the development of a pre-cancerous change called a cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (also called cervical intraepithelial lesion or CIN) and other conditions. These factors can increase your risk of cervical cancer. Some people may also be genetically more likely to develop this cancer.
A cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb). It is the narrow channel between the uterus and the bladder. The cervix changes from a short, narrow structure in a woman’s body, known as the closed endocervix, to a wider and longer structure as the woman’s body gets older. A cervix may also grow out into the vagina. Cervical cancer often begins in the cervix or other areas around the cervix.
Doctors don’t know exactly how cervical cancer develops. However, they believe that changes in the cells (proliferation) in the cervix, the immune system, or both may play a role. Factors that may increase your risk of developing cervical cancer include:
Having more than one sexual partner
A cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
An HPV infection
An HPV type 16 or 18 (human papilloma virus, or HPV) infection, which is the most common type of HPV
Having multiple sex partners while pregnant
Having sex at a young age
Certain types of immune system problems
Having a weakened immune system
Women with certain immune system problems who are treated with drugs or radiation after their cancer is diagnosed may be at higher risk for developing recurrent cervical cancer (cancer