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Cervical cancer starts in the cells in the cervix. The cervix joins the top of the vagina to the lower part of the womb.
Cells are the tiny parts that make up your body. Your body makes new cells to replace old ones when they are hurt or die. This happens in a controlled way – for example, if you cut your hand, your body sends a message that new skin cells should be made to heal the cut. If cells change and grow in an uncontrolled way, they can form a lump. This is sometimes called a tumour.
Cervical cancer can develop on the outer surface of the cervix and inside the cervix in the cervical canal. Most cervical cancers develop where these parts of the cervix meet – an area called the transformation zone.