Cervical Cancer

How to find (and feel) your cervix?

The cervix is at the lowest part of the uterus. It is a small passageway connecting the vagina to the uterine cavity.

What is cervical cancer?

Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Although most HPV infections clear up on their own and most pre-cancerous lesions resolve spontaneously, there is a risk for all women that HPV infection may become chronic and pre-cancerous lesions progress to invasive cervical cancer.

Pap smear is a screening test for detecting early abnormal changes in the cervix. When such changes are found, they can be treated before cancer develops.

How common is cervical cancer?

According to the Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR, Cervical cancer is the 8th leading cause of female cancer deaths in Hong Kong. In 2018, a total of 163 women died from this cancer, accounting for 2.7% of female cancer deaths. 

The median age at diagnosis was 54. However, there has been a downward trend of age-standardised incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer in Hong Kong between 1995 to 2015. 

Key risk factors for cervical cancer

  • HPV 16 and 18 infection.
  • Active sex life, sexual intercourse at earlier age, with multiple sexual partners or sexual partner with multiple sexual partners.
  • Co-infection with sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Weakened immunity due to chronic kidney disease, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection or other immune system related diseases.
  • Smoking: A woman who smokes doubles her risk of cervical cancer.

All women who have had sex are at risk for developing cervical cancer. To reduce the risk, remember that it is important to quit smoking, stay healthy, practise safe sex, and have regular Pap smear test.