Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women throughout the world. In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 75% of women will contract human Papillomavirus (“HPV”) infection, a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. Carcinoma of the cervix is one of the most common malignancies in women. It accounts for 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, which is at the bottom of the uterus. The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina. The part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus is called the endocervix. The part next to the vagina is the exocervix (or ectocervix). The 2 main types of cells covering the cervix are squamous cells (on the exocervix) and glandular cells (on the endocervix). The place these 2 cell types meet is called the transformation zone. The transformation zone is the area located in the cervix where precancerous and cancerous changes are most likely to occur.
There are two main types of cells covering the cervix: flat, scale-like squamous cells (on the exocervix) and rectangular columnar glandular cells (on the endocervix). These cell type meet in what is called the transformation zone. Most cervical cancers begin in the cells lining the cervix in this transformation zone. Initially, precancerous lesions are confined above the basement membrane of the surface of the cervix. But if they progress, these cells can migrate to healthy cervical tissue as invasive carcinoma.