Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer forms in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus (womb). The cervix connects the body of the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Every year, 2,145 Malaysian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is common among women in Malaysia and the second most common cancer in women between 15 and 44 years of age.

Key statistics

  • About 1,682 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Malaysia (estimates for 2018).
  • Cervical cancer ranks as the third leading cause of female cancer in Malaysia.
  • Cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer in women aged 15 to 44 years in Malaysia.

Types of Cervical Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Squamous cell carcinomas begin in the thin, flat cells that line the bottom of the cervix, or the exocervix. Known as the most common type of cervical cancer, it accounts for 80 to 90 percent of cervical cancers.


Adenocarcinomas develop in the mucus-producing glandular cells that line the upper portion of the cervix, or the endocervix. This type of cancer makes up 10 to 20 percent of cervical cancers and seems to have become more common in the past 20 to 30 years.


Every cancer diagnosed comes in stages. Staging is a way of describing size and extent of the cancer in the body. The treatment plan may vary for each cancer stage, hence we will help choose the best treatment for you.

There are 4 stages of Cervical Cancer:

Stage 1 Stage 2
  • Cancer cells are found in the cervix but it is not growing outside the uterus
  • The cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites
  • The tumour has grown through the cervix and invaded the upper part of the vagina, but it hasn’t spread to the walls of the pelvis or the lower part of the vagina
  • The cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites
Stage 3 Stage 4
  • The tumour has invaded the pelvic wall or the lower part of the vagina, and it may be blocking the ureters, which are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  • The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant sites
  • At this advanced stage, the tumour has reached the bladder or rectum
  • The cancer has also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs

Warning signs

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge: may contain blood that occurs in between periods or menopause
  • Pelvic pain
  • Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse

Unavoidable risk factors

  • Family history

Cervical Cancer Myths vs. Facts

Myth Fact
Cervical cancer cannot be prevented Cervical cancer can be prevented, and it happens to be one of the most preventable cancers. A Pap test procedure could detect abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix, and if found, they can be monitored and treated so that the cancer never develops
I have had a hysterectomy so I don’t need Pap tests. If you had a hysterectomy and you still have your cervix, it is important to continue having regular Pap tests.
I have no symptoms therefore I do not need to get a Pap test. Cervical cancer can be detected without realising that there are any symptoms.