The cervix

The cervix is the lower part of the womb (uterus). It is joined to the top of the vagina and is sometimes called the neck of the womb. The womb is a muscular, pear-shaped organ. The lining of the womb is shed each month when a woman has her period. Close to the cervix are lymph nodes.

The cervix and surrounding structures
The cervix and surrounding structures

View a large version

Read a description of this image

This information relates to cancer of the cervix. For information on cancer of the womb please see the endometrial cancer page.

The lymphatic system

The lymphatic system helps to protect us from infection and disease. It also drains lymph fluid from the tissues of the body before returning it to the blood. The lymphatic system is made up of fine tubes called lymphatic vessels that connect to groups of lymph nodes throughout the body.

Lymph nodes (sometimes called lymph glands) are small and bean-shaped. They filter bacteria (germs) and disease from the lymph fluid. When you have an infection lymph nodes often swell as they fight the infection. There is a collection of lymph nodes close to the cervix.

The pelvic lymph nodes
The pelvic lymph nodes

View a large version

Read a description of this image

Back to Understanding cervical cancer

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

How is it treated?

There are five main types of cancer treatment. You may receive one, or a combination of treatments, depending on your cancer type.

About cervical cancer

Most of the time, changes in cells that occur in the cervix are not cancerous. Sometimes these changes develop in to cervical cancer.