About cervical cancer

Each year, more than 3,200 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK. This type of cancer can affect all ages.

Cervical cancer develops very slowly from abnormal cell changes in the cervix. These changes do not cause any symptoms, but they may be found with cervical screening tests. If the tests show abnormal cell changes, treatment can prevent cancer developing.

We have more information about cervical screening and treating abnormal cell changes.

Types of cervical cancer

There are two main types of cervical cancer. The most common is squamous cell carcinoma. This develops from a type of cell that covers the outside of the cervix at the top of the vagina.

The other type is adenocarcinoma. This develops from a different type of cell found in the cervical canal (the endocervix).

Rarer types of cervical cancer

Other types of cervical cancer include:

  • adenosquamous carcinoma
  • clear cell carcinoma
  • neuroendocrine carcinoma or small cell carcinoma of the cervix
  • lymphoma
  • sarcoma.

These types are much less common and may be treated differently. If you need more information, our cancer support specialists may be able to help.

Back to Understanding cervical cancer

What is cancer?

We have information about how cancer starts and develops. Cervical cancer can spread through the lymphatic system.

The cervix

The cervix is the lower part of the womb (uterus). It joins to the top of the vagina.