Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Those abnormal cells may become cancer cells and start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.
Infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) is almost always the cause of cervical cancer. Not all women with HPV infection, however, will develop cervical cancer. Women who do not regularly have tests to detect HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix are at increased risk of cervical cancer. The vast majority of cervical cancers could be prevented with Pap tests and HPV vaccination.
Cervical cancer, an often preventable cancer, will be diagnosed in an estimated 13,240 women living in the United States and some 4,170 women are expected to die of the disease in 2018, according to federal statistics.
Source: National Cancer Institute