Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2012 about 12,170 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,220 women will die from cervical cancer. The primary underlying cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus. Effective interventions against cervical cancer exist, including screens, and treatment of pre-cancer and invasive cancer. The cure rate for cervical cancer is based on the stage of disease at diagnosis and the availability of treatment. If left untreated, cervical cancer is almost always fatal. In underdeveloped countries cervical cancer is the number one killer of young women (Tornatto et al., 2009).
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects the body of the uterus to the vagina. The cervix is made up of two main types of cells: squamous cells and glandular, also called columnar cells. Squamous cells are found lining the outside of the cervix (exocervix). Glandular cells line the endocervical canal. The glandular cells produce secretions that help protect the uterus from pathogens secreted from the vagina, by plugging the canal with mucus. The area of the cervix where the two cell types meet is called the transformation zone. Most cervical cancer starts in this area (Braun, 2011).
The cells of the cervix are known for their ability to respond to changes in environment, such as pH and hormone fluctuations. The cervical cells regularly undergo metaplasia, changing from one type of cell to another, when facing stressors. During certain times, such as pregnancy and puberty the transformation zone is enlarged and the cells are more vulnerable. Trauma, irritation, and chronic infection can cause damage to the cells, and cellular dysplasia occurs. When the nucleus of a cell is affected and there is damage to the DNA, abnormal differentiation may occur. These damaged cells are considered precancerous...