This paper reports the investigation of a one-dimensional (1D) photonic crystal (PhC) sensor with improved performance for detecting different categories of cancer cells. The sensing region consists of a vertical slot (VS) introduced inside the periodic Bragg mirror. The structure operating principle is based on the change of the refractive index (RI) of the analyte incorporated in the VS, which leads to the shift in the resonant wavelength peak. The sensing properties have been numerically simulated and analyzed using the transfer matrix method (TMM). The study shows that the optimization process of the structure tends to enhance sensitivity. From the result of the numerical simulation, it is found that the final optimized sensor exhibits the higher sensitivity of 3201 nm/RIU than other similar devices. We believe that the obtained results will be valuable for designing highly sensitive PhC sensors.