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San Cancer Services

Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?

Regarded as a cancer which generally progresses slowly, cervical cancer develops in the cells of the cervix, which is located between the uterus and the vagina. The primary cause of cervical cancer is known to be infection by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). While not all infections of HPV lead to cancer, it can occur when the individual's immune system does not clear the HPV infection. The virus leads to abnormal cell growth which over time can progress to precancerous lesions. Left untreated, these cells may eventually become cancerous.

When detected early, this highly treatable cancer has a good prognosis, responding to different treatment options. As well as HPV, other risk factors which may contribute to developing cervical cancer include:

  • Family history
  • Weakened immune system
  • Early sexual activity
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Long term oral contraceptive use
  • Smoking

Preventative measures against cervical cancer include HPV vaccination for young individuals, safe sexual practices, and routine screening. If cancer is diagnosed, treatment options depend on the stage of the disease and may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches.

Detecting Cervical Cancer Early

As with many cancers, early detection is desirable as cervical cancer is highly treatable. The most common symptoms are pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse or abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Cervical screening tests are encouraged for all women, with the frequency lessening with age. For example, women under 30 are recommended to test every three years, while those 30 to 65 are recommended every five years. Frequency is also dependent on the individuals health and family history.

The cervical screening test involves collecting cells from the cervix, examining for any abnormalities, and checking for the presence of HPV. If a screening test finds abnormalities or is positive for HPV, follow-up steps will be taken. This can range from being advised to have the test repeated in 1 to 3 years, or for further tests to be conducted such as a biopsy or colposcopy to confirm a diagnosis or to guide treatment.

Treating Cervical Cancer

When detected early, the treatment for cervical cancer may be surgery (to remove the cervix or the area of impacted cells) or other targeted therapies which destroy the abnormal tissues in situ. In more advanced cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapies may be deployed either with or without surgery. Immunotherapy is also potentially part of a treatment plan.

The type of treatment is also influenced by the stage of the cervical cancer, the person’s age, whether they are planning to have children in the future and their general health.

The San's specialist cervical oncology team prepare individualised treatment plans dependent on the patient’s specific diagnosis, the cancer's size, location and stage.

World-class Cervical Cancer Treatment on Sydney's North Shore

With the San's world-class diagnosis and treatment facilities located on Sydney's North Shore, our dedicated teams of specialists and nursing staff prepare a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient. The team of specialists involved in a patient's treatment will generally include gynaecologic oncologists (specialists in cervical cancer), medical oncologists (treat the cancer with medicine) and radiation oncologists (treat the cancer with radiation).

With our reputation for exceptional care, we provide a coordinated approach which ensures the patient receives optimum treatment through all stages of the process.


As a leading gynaecological cancer treatment hospital in Sydney, the San's cervical cancer expert team are well-equipped to provide the full suite of screening and treatment options from diagnosis to recovery.

The San Advantage

  • Leading-edge screening services
  • Personalised treatment plans
  • World-class facilities and technology
  • Co-ordinated multi-disciplinary teams
  • Exceptional care and support