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Monday, 20 November 2017
Cancer of the Cervix

A close-up photograph of  some of the equipment in the Stour Centre.

The cervix
This is the lower part of the womb (uterus) and is often called the neck of the womb. It is possible for a doctor to see and feel the cervix during an internal (vaginal) examination.

The lymph glands
Situated close to the cervix is a collection of small glands called lymph glands or nodes. These are part of the lymphatic system, which carries colourless fluid around the body. The lymph glands act as filters, filtering out bacteria and debris.

Cancer of the cervix
There are two main types of cancer of the cervix. The most common is called squamous cell carcinoma, the other type is called adenocarcinoma. These names indicate the type of cells on the cervix which are growing in an abnormal way. The pathologist’s report is important as it gives the doctor information about the type of cancer present, and, with the clinical findings, will enable the doctor to determine the best form of treatment.

What types of treatment are used?

Surgery is usually the first line of treatment for cancer of the cervix in its early stages. This surgery would involve the removal of the womb (uterus), the neck of the womb (cervix) and possibly the top of the vagina and lymph glands. Your doctor will discuss the extent of surgery with you.

Radiotherapy is just as effective as surgery for cancer of the cervix in its early stages but has side effects. For less fit patients who are unable to have surgery, or for advanced disease, radiotherapy is the treatment of choice.

Chemotherapy
may be used prior to surgery to shrink the cancer, or following surgery if there is a risk the disease may recur.