Cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancers in women worldwide, with the majority of deaths (up to 90%) occurring in countries with low socioeconomic status.
The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus and is composed of different types of cells: those that line the endocervical canal and those that line the cervix in the intravaginal area. It is at the border of these two epithelia, the so-called transformation zone, where almost all cervical carcinomas originate. However, the cervix can be invaded by other cancerous lesions due to the invasion of tumors that originate in nearby locations such as the mucous membrane that lines the uterus, vagina or rectum, for example.
However, primary cervical cancer, i.e., cancer originating in the cervix, is a type of cancer that is associated with long-term persistence of infection with one of the 15 high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
Human papillomavirus is easily transmitted and it is estimated that up to 80% of women can become infected with one of the high-risk types of HPV. However, it is also known that not all women who acquire such an infection will develop uterine cancer since only in one case in 10 the infection becomes permanent and will eventually lead to the development of pre-cancerous lesions, which, if detected early, can be treated and prevent the progression of the disease to cervical cancer.