What is cervical cancer?
The cervix is inside your vagina at the lower end of your womb (uterus). It is often called the neck of the womb because it is the opening to the womb from the vagina. The cervix is shaped like a cone and is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long.
Cervical cancer is when normal cells in the lining of your cervix grow in an abnormal way to form a mass of cells called a tumour.
Cervical cancer develops slowly over a number of years, first becoming precancerous and then leading to cancer itself. The precancerous cells may also be called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). These cells are not cancerous, but if left untreated may develop into cancer.
221+ Patient Support Group thanks the Irish Cancer Society for permission to use the text of their booklet Cervical Cancer, What You Should Know
and acknowledges the contribution of the original authors of the booklet.