What is Cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer develops from the tissues of the cervix. It is also called cancer of the uterine cervix. It is the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australian women.

The cervix is part of the female reproductive system, which also includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina and vulva. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is sometimes called the neck of the uterus. Read More

Functions of the cervix include:

  • producing some of the moistness that lubricates the vagina
  • producing the mucus that helps sperm travel up to the fallopian tube to fertilise an egg from the ovary
  • holding a developing baby in the uterus during pregnancy. During childbirth, the cervix widens to allow the baby to pass down into the birth canal (vagina).

The cervix is covered by 2 kinds of cells: squamous and glandular. Squamous cells are flat, thin cells found in the outer layer of the cervix (ectocervix). Glandular cells are found in the cervical canal (endocervix). The point where these 2 cells meet is called the squamocolumnar junction. This is where cervical cancer starts. Hide

  • Cervical cancer statistics

    Cervical cancer statistics

    Cervical cancer was the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2011. It is estimated that it will remain the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2015.

  • Know the risk factors

    Know the risk factors

    Some risk factors are modifiable, such as lifestyle or environmental risk factors, and others cannot be modified, such as inherited factors or whether someone in the family has had cancer.

  • Cervical cancer symptoms

    Cervical cancer symptoms

    Changes to cervical cells do not usually cause any symptoms – this is why regular Pap tests are so important.

  • Cervical cancer screening

    Cervical cancer screening

    In addition to not smoking, there are 2 important ways of preventing cervical cancer: the Pap test and the HPV vaccine.

  • How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

    How is cervical cancer diagnosed?

    If your Pap test is abnormal or you have symptoms of cervical cancer (or for any other reason), you can have more tests to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer.

  • Treatment options

    Treatment options

    Treatment and care of people with cancer is usually provided by a team of health professionals, both medical and allied health, called a multidisciplinary team.

  • Finding support

    Finding support

    You might feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious or upset if you have been diagnosed with cancer – these are all normal feelings.

  • Research & clinical trials

    Research & clinical trials

    Research is ongoing to find new ways to diagnose and treat different types of cancer.

  • Health professionals

    Health professionals

    Information and Clinical Guidelines for Health professionals.

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