About cervical cancer

About the cervix

The cervix forms part of the female reproductive system. It is found deep inside your vagina and is often called the neck of the womb. The cells in the cervix are always changing in response to your hormones.

What is cervical cancer?

Cancer of the cervix is cancer of the cells lining your cervix. Cervical cancer develops slowly over a number of years. At first it develops abnormal changes, which are called precancerous, and then leads to cancer itself. These abnormal cells are called CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). These cells are not cancerous but if left untreated may develop into cancer.

How common is cervical cancer?

In Ireland about 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. It is the second most common female cancer in Europe.