Objective To determine the prognostic effect of adjuvant radiation and clinicopathological variables in surgically treated patients with small cell carcinoma of the cervix (SCCC). Methods Clinical data of SCCC patients with International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage I-II underwent radical surgery from May 2000 to August 2014 at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Forty-three patients with SCCC were included to this study. Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test, Student's t test or Mann-Whitney U test, Kaplan-Meier method and multivariate analysis of Cox proportional hazards regression were used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results Among 43 patients (median age, 49 years old) recruited, 25(58.1%) had stage I, 18(41.9%) had stage II disease. The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 39.54%, and the 5-year disease free survival (DFS) was 27.91%. Distant metastasis was the main cause of treatment failure (71.9%). Patients with adjuvant chemoradiation displayed lower rate of local recurrence than those with adjuvant chemotherapy (10.7% vs 60.0%, P < 0.0001). Multivariable analysis identified lymph node metastasis as a significant prognostic factor for both DFS and OS (P = 0.001, 0.004 respectively). Age was also an independent predictor of OS (P = 0.004). Adjuvant radiation appeared to significantly improve DFS (HR = 0.383, 95% CI, 0.185-0.791), but not OS. Conclusions Adjuvant radiotherapy could improve the local control and prolong DFS in surgically treated SCCC. However, a large prospective clinical trial is needed to confirm this.