Approximately 700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in Australia. Of those, 200 will die of their disease. Cervical cancer develops through pre-cancerous stages (cervical dysplasia, CIN) over many years. The introduction of the PAP smear screening has reduced the incidence of cervical cancer dramatically in countries of the developed world. While the incidence of cervical cancer in USA, Australia and Europe is low, its incidence in countries of the developing world is very high.  You may be at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer if you develop an infection with one or more strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) through early age intercourse, have multiple sexual partners and/or smoke.

Treatment depends on the stage of disease. Very early cervical cancer (microinvasive) can be treated by a cone biopsy or a simple hysterectomy. Patients with cervical cancer limited to the uterine cervix require a radical hysterectomy, at which a safety margin around the cancer is taken. These patients also require removal of lymph nodes along the large blood vessels in the pelvis. Patients with advanced disease (stage 2+) require a combination of chemotherapy (weekly) plus radiotherapy (daily) for four to six weeks. Survival depends on the stage of disease with more than 75% of patients surviving stage 1.