In the UK in 2013 there were around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer. It is the 12th most common cancer in UK women, resulting in 890 deaths in 2014. Deaths in England are more common in women living in the most deprived areas.
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main potentially avoidable risk factor for cervical cancer. Anyone who is sexually active can be infected with HPV.
Cervical screening detects abnormal cells in the cervix that might develop into cancer. It prevents 75% of cervical cancers. The procedure takes about five minutes. Some women find it uncomfortable or embarrassing. Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for routine screening every three years, while those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.
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