What is cervical cancer?
Cancer of the cervix is cancer of the cells lining your cervix. At first abnormal changes happen, which are called precancerous. These abnormal cells are called CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). These cells are not cancerous but if left untreated may develop into cancer.
Cancer is when the abnormal cells in the cervix form a tumour. These cells may then break away and spread to other areas.
Around 250 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in Ireland.
What is the cervix and what does it do?
The cervix is found deep inside your vagina at the lower end of your womb (uterus). It is often called the neck of the womb as it is the opening to the womb from the vagina. It is shaped like a cone.
Usually your cervix is closed but opens during labour to let the baby be born.
The cells in your cervix are changing all the time. Most changes happen in an area called the transformation zone. Sometimes abnormal changes happen.
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