print   Bookmark and Share  |  RSS  |  A  A  A

Cervical Cancer: Introduction

The cervix is part of the female reproductive tract that makes up the lower part of the uterus, also known as the womb. The upper endocervix connects to the uterus and the lower ectocervical region opens to the vagina. This connection allows for the passage of a fetus during delivery. The main components of the female reproductive tract are described below in detail:

  • Uterus: The uterus is also called the womb and is where a fertilized egg develops into a fetus and is housed until birth. The walls of the uterus are thick and lined with muscles.
  • Ovaries: The ovaries produce and store gametes (eggs) and produce the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  • Fallopian tubes: The fertilization of an egg by a sperm cell occurs in the fallopian tubes.
  • Vagina: The vagina is the female sex organ and the passageway for menstrual blood and the fetus during childbirth.
  • Cervix: the cervix is the region connecting the uterus to the vagina; the muscles of the cervix support the weight of the fetus during pregnancy.

The two types of cervical cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, which are distinguished based on their appearance under a microscope. Both squamous cell and adenocarcinoma begin in the cells that line hollow organs, but squamous cells have a thin, flat appearance while adenocarcinomas involve cells with secretory functions. Squamous cell carcinoma is far more common and makes up approximately 90% of cervical carcinoma cases. Both types have similar risk factors, prognoses, and treatments.