Most of these cancers stem from infection with the human papillomavirus, although other host factors affect neoplastic progression following initial infection. Compared with other gynecologic malignancies, cervical cancer develops in a younger population of women. Thus, screening for this neoplasia with Pap smear sampling typically begins in adolescence or young adulthood. Most early cancers are asymptomatic, whereas symptoms of advancing cervical cancer may include bleeding, watery discharge, and signs associated with venous, lymphatic, neural, or ureteral compression. Diagnosis of cervical cancer usually follows colposcopic examination and histologic evaluation of cervical biopsies.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is common, and ranks second among all malignancies for women (Parkin, 2005). In 2002, an estimated 493,000 new cases were identified globally and 274,000 deaths were recorded. In general, higher incidences are found in developing countries, and these countries contribute 83 percent of reported cases annually. Economically advantaged countries have significantly lower cervical cancer rates, and add only 3.6 percent of new cancers. ...Show more