Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
In recent years, there has been a lot of progress in understanding what happens in cells of the cervix when cancer develops. In addition, several risk factors have been identified that increase the odds that a woman might develop cervical cancer (see Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer).
The development of normal human cells mostly depends on the information contained in the cells’ DNA. DNA is the chemical in our cells that makes up our genes, which control how our cells work. We look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than just how we look.
Some genes control when cells grow, divide, and die:·
Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations (gene defects) that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes.
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) have two proteins known as E6 and E7 which turn off some tumor suppressor genes, such as p53 and Rb. This may allow the cells lining the cervix to grow too much and to develop changes in additional genes, which in some cases can lead to cancer.
But HPV is not the only cause of cervical cancer. Most women with HPV don’t get cervical cancer, and other risk factors, like smoking and HIV infection, influence which women exposed to HPV are more likely to develop cervical cancer.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Jhungran A, Russell AH, Seiden MV, Duska LR, Goodman A, Lee S, et al. Chapter 84: Cancers of the Cervix, Vulva, and Vagina. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2020.
Yim EK, Park JS. The role of HPV E6 and E7 oncoproteins in HPV-associated cervical carcinogenesis. Cancer Res Treat. 2005;37(6):319–324. doi:10.4143/crt.2005.37.6.319.
Last Revised: January 3, 2020