The cervix is the the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The two most common types of cervical cancer and squamous cell and adenocarcinoma.
Various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, play a role in causing most cervical cancer. When exposed to HPV, a woman's immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small group of women, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cells on the surface of the cervix to become cancer cells.
Treatment for cervical cancer depends on the stage of cancer (I, II, III or IV). In earlier stages, surgical removal of the uterus and cervix is the standard treatment (radical hysterectomy). In more advanced stages, cervical cancer is best treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.
In rare cases, surgical removal of the cervix alone using a procedure called a trachelectomy may be a safe and reasonable option when preservation of fertility is desired.