Cervical cancer

The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Cancer of the cervix mostly affects younger women aged 30 and 45.

 

What is cervical cancer?

In most cases, cervical cancer develops from a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is passed from person to person during sex. There are many different types of HPV. Only a few cause cancer.

Causes of cervical cancer

You’re more likely to get cervical cancer if you:

  • Have the HPV virus
  • Have had multiple sexual partners
  • First had sex aged 14 or younger
  • Are a smoker
  • Have HIV or other sexually transmitted infections
  • Have a family history of cervical cancer
  • Have had previous cancer of the vulva, vagina, kidney, urinary tract (especially if pelvic radiotherapy was received)

You may also be more likely to have cervical cancer if you have other sexually transmitted diseases or if you are on the combined pill (containing synthetic versions of oestrogen and progesterone).

You are half as likely to get cervical cancer if your partner is circumcised. That’s because the risk of the HPV virus is much lower in circumcised men.

In the last thirty years, screening programmes and vaccines have helped reduce the numbers of women with cervical cancer.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

You may have no symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer. It may only be diagnosed when you have a cervical screening (previously known as a smear test). However, symptoms can include:

Unusual bleeding, for example:

• Irregular bleeding

• Bleeding after the menopause

Pain or discomfort when you have sex or bleeding afterwards

Discharge from the vagina that smells unpleasant

Pain in your pelvis

Tests and diagnosis

Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and give you a thorough physical examination. Tests may also include:

  • An internal examination of your vagina and cervix
  • Blood tests
  • Colposcopy: an examination of the cervix during which a sample of cells may be taken for analysis
  • Cone biopsy: a procedure that involves removing a cone shape of tissue from the womb for analysis
  • Scans: CT chest/abdomen/pelvis, MRI pelvis, PET-CT

Treatments we offer

Cervical cancer can be treated with surgery alone at the early stages. Advanced stages may need combination chemotherapy, external radiotherapy and brachytherapy(internal radiotherapy).

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Meet our doctors

Our-doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Multiple selected

Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

+44 (0)121 353 3055

Bristol

300 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4SY

01454 456500

Cambridge

Fordham Rd, Newmarket CB8 7XN, UK

+44 (0)1223 907 600

Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

+44 (0)1245 987 901

Cromwell Hospital

164-178 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0TU, UK

0203 848 0900

Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

+44 (0)208 236 9040

Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX

+44 (0)1483 806 000

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

+44 (0)1732 207 000

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

+44 (0)1908 467 700

Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

+44 (0)1158 077 400

Oxford

Peters Way, Sandy Lane West, Oxford, OX4 6LB

+44 (0)1865 237 700

Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

+44 (0)23 9248 4992

Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

+44 (0)381 277 900

Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

+44 (0)1753 418 444