Cervical cancer

• There are two main types of cervical cancer. The first type grows in the skin lining the cervix. The second type grows from the lining of the mucous glands of the cervix. Most cervical cancers are associated with infection by a virus called a wart virus.

• Cervical cancer has two main ways of spreading: local invasion and lymphatic spread. The spread of cancer to different parts of the body is called metastasis.

• Local invasion means that the tumour grows into the upper vagina, the uterus and the tissue in the pelvis next to the uterus. In advanced cancer, the tumour may grow into the bladder at the front of the cervix and into the rectum at the back. It may also block the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, causing kidney failure.

• Lymphatic spread occurs when cancerous cells move through the lymph fluid channels and are trapped by lymph glands, where the cells can multiply and form tumours.