The cervical cancer (also called cervical carcinoma) is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is part of the reproductive system of women. It is the lower, narrow part of the uterus or womb, the passageway that connects the uterus to the vagina. Sometimes, the cells in the cervix change. These changes can cause benign tumors such as polyps or fibroids that are not cancer. When the cells of the cervix start to change and become abnormal, one occurs cervical dysplasia.
Dysplasia is a precancerous condition. This means that the cells are not cancer, but there is a higher possibility that these abnormal changes to turn into cervical cancer. Cervical dysplasia is a common precancerous condition that can develop into cancer if left untreated. Most women with dysplasia are treated successfully and do not develop cancer. But in some cases, changes in cervical cells can cause cancer. It may take many years (generally around 10 years or more) for precancerous conditions become cervical cancer, but sometimes this can happen in less time. The most common precancerous conditions of the cervix are: dysplasia, intraepithelial neoplasia, squamous intraepithelial lesions, and atypical glandular cells.
All these disorders represent precancerous changes in the cells found in the superficial layer of the cervix. These changes are quite common and occur most often in women between 20 and 30 years. Very often, cervical cancer starts in a flat, thin cells called squamous cells. These cells cover the surface of the cervix and are in the lining of the cervix. This type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. The cancer can also start in the glandular cells responsible for producing mucus. These cells line the inside of the cervix. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma of the cervix. It also can develop rare types of cervical cancer as adenosquamous carcinoma, also called mixed carcinoma, and vitreous cell carcinoma.