What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in the cervix, which is the lower part of womb. It is an invasive tumor affecting the cervix. 'Invasive' means that the tumor can spread from the surface of cervix into the deeper tissues, which in turn may spread to adjacent structures (e.g. vagina, nerve, pelvis and kidney) and finally to distant organs such as liver, lung and brain.

The development of cervical cancer is a series of events starting from abnormal cell changes. The majority of these changes will regress to normal while some may progress to cancer over years. The difference between early cell changes and cancer is that cancer possesses the ability to invade adjacent tissue and spread to distant body sites while cell changes do not.