Cervical cancer

We are here to help if you or your loved one has cervical cancer

Cancer Education

Cervical cancer happens in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is a part of the female sex/reproductive system. It connects the uterus (womb, where a baby grows) and vagina. The cervix is in the lower part of the uterus and connects to the top of the vaginal canal (tube or passage). Cervical cancer can stay local. This means the abnormal cells stay in and around the cervix only. It can also spread from the cervix to other surrounding areas such as: 

  • the lymph nodes around the cervix, 

  • within the pelvis 

  • other nearby organs. 

You may not notice any signs or symptoms during early cervical cell changes. If cells develop into cancer, common signs or symptoms may include: 

  • pain in the pelvic (lower abdomen/tummy/belly) area 

  • blood or bleeding between your normal periods 

  • unusual bleeding during your period 

  • unusual discharge (loss of fluid/mucus) from your vagina 

  • pain or bleeding during or after sex. 

Types of Cervical Cancer 

There are two types of cervical cancer, and they are quite different. We call each one after the type of cell in which it starts. 

Squamous cell carcinoma  

This type of cervical cancer is the most common. This cancer starts in the cells (Squamous) of the lining that covers the surface of the cervix. 


This type of cervical cancer is less common. It starts in cells called glandular (gland) cells. Glandular cells are in the cervical canal. This is the tube or passage from the small opening (neck) of the cervix leading into the uterus. 

Your first tests for a cervical cancer diagnosis 

The first stages of cervical cancer may go unnoticed. We recommend that all women between the ages of 18 to 70 have regular PAP (Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis) smear tests done. 

A PAP smear test is a method of checking for any abnormal cells or potential changes to cervical cells. It involves taking a smear (small scrape) of cells from your cervix. A medical practitioner then tests these under a microscope for abnormal changes. 

Placing you at the centre of our work, your specialists will find out the type of cervical cancer it is. 

Our experts will work with you to find the correct cervical cancer. They will also support you through a medical examination and other key tests such as: 

  • pathology (blood tests) 

  • imaging (scans and x-rays) 

  • scopes (using a small camera to look inside the cervix) 

  • biopsy. 

Cervical cancer diagnosis 

We will give you the best cervical cancer testing and treatment.  

We will design and supply the best diagnosis and treatment plan. This plan will respond to your condition and individual needs. 

To diagnose the cervical cancer, we may: 

  • Conduct a colposcopy. This is a simple one-day procedure. It allows us to see and examine the vagina and cervix with a small magnifying camera. 

  • Use CT (Computed Tomography) or PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans. We may also use MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans. We will do this to show the exact size and place of the cancer. 

  • Perform a biopsy which is a small sample of cells or piece of tissue from the affected area. 

The results from these tests will also help us understand how developed your cancer is. If there is cervical cancer, we will find its stage. Staging is a way to describe or label how far the disease has spread. This will help guide your best treatment plan. 

Focusing on you (treatment) 

Our doctors will discuss and develop the best treatment plan for you. Treatments will depend on your diagnosis. 

Cervical cancer treatment will depend on: 

  • the type of disease it is 

  • whether it has spread and how far (its stage) 

  • your general health and wellbeing 

  • your needs. 

We will develop the most effective treatment plan for your condition and needs. Your treatment team may recommend any of the following treatments as part of your plan: 

  • Surgery. 

  • Chemotherapy, or anti-cancer drugs. This will help shrink or destroy the cancer cells before or after surgery. 

  • Radiation therapy. These are strong and powerful beams of radiation/energy. They kill and/or slow cancer cells either before or after surgery or both. 

  • External beam radiation therapy, directed and delivered from outside of the body. 

  • Internal radiation therapy called brachytherapy. We direct and deliver this inside the body, up close to the cancer itself. 

  • Clinical trials. 

  • Or a combination of these. 

Enhancing your care (after treatment) 

After effective treatment, you will continue to see your specialist every three months. We use these visits to check your health. They may include tests such as pathology, imaging (scans and x-rays) and small biopsies. Your specialist will discuss the best follow-up plan for you. 

Cervical cancer support 

We focus on all aspects of your health and wellbeing. Our cervical experts will help support you. They can also guide you to the best information and managed care. 

Our specialist nurses can refer you to our:

Living with cancer 

We know how hard cancer and treatment can be. It will disrupt and change your lifestyle and that of your loved ones. During this time, it is common to struggle with ongoing concerns about cancer and therapy. There are many expert groups available to support you through this time, including:  

Patient and carer resources 

More information about cervical cancer is available. This covers its treatment and support for patients and families. You can download copies of the following resources: 

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