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Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix — the lower part of the uterus (womb). The cervix connects the body of the uterus (the upper part where a fetus grows) to the vagina (birth canal). The cervix is made of two parts and is covered with two different types of cells. The endocervix is the opening of the cervix that leads into the uterus. It is covered with glandular cells. The exocervix (or ectocervix) is the outer part of the cervix that can be seen by the doctor during a speculum exam. It is covered in squamous cells.
Types of Cervical Cancer
There are 2 main types of cervical cancer, named for the type of cell where the cancer started. Other types of cervical cancer are rare.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: These cancers develop from cells in the exocervix. Squamous cell carcinomas most often begin in the transformation zone (where the exocervix joins the endocervix).
- Adenocarcinoma, cancers that develop from glandular cells. Cervical adenocarcinoma develops from the mucus-producing gland cells of the endocervix.
- Less commonly, cervical cancers have features of both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. These are called adenosquamous carcinomas or mixed carcinomas.
Treatment of Cervical Cancer
Common types of treatments for cervical cancer include:
- Surgery for Cervical Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer
- Chemotherapy for Cervical Cancer
- Targeted Therapy for Cervical Cancer
- Immunotherapy for Cervical Cancer