What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is a malignant tumour in the tissues of the cervix. It most commonly begins in an area called the transformation zone, which is where two types of cells meet.
At diagnosis, the cancer is often within the cervix, but it may have spread to tissues around the cervix (e.g. the vagina) or to other parts of the body.
Cervical cancer symptoms
If early cell changes develop into cervical cancer, the most common signs include:
- vaginal bleeding between periods
- bleeding after intercourse or pain during intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding.
Cervical cancer statistics
- In Australia, about 780 women are diagnosed with the disease every year.
- About 1.5% of all cancers in Australian women are cervical cancer.
Since the mid-1990s, the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased significantly. This is because more women are having regular Pap tests as part of the National Cervical Screening Program. It’s expected that the National Immunisation Program will cause a further reduction in cervical cancer cases in the coming years.
The aim of this information is to help you understand about cervical cancer. We cannot advise you about the best treatment for you. You need to discuss this with your doctors. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about the questions you would like to ask your doctors or other health carers.