What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix grow in an uncontrolled way. This type of cancer is the 13th most common cancer in women in the UK. The main symptom is unusual bleeding from the vagina. Finding changes in the cells through screening can help prevent cancer from developing. Cervical cancer has affected more than 13,000 women each year and more than 4,000 of women will die because of it.
Most Common Questions To Be Asked:
How common is cervical cancer?
Cervical Cancer kills around 1000 young women every year in the UK and is more common in sexually active women between 30-45 years old.
What happens during a Smear Test?
A smear test is done routinely in your GP surgery by your practice nurse/doctor and only takes a few minutes to perform. There are no injections, stitches or cutting involved in this procedure.
Why should I have a Smear Test?
A smear test can detect early Cervical Cancer before it progresses and if you are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, it can improve your prognosis and chances of survival. It can also predict if you are going to develop Cervical Cancer in the future.
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer include:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain in the area between the hip bones (pelvis)
- Bleeding after menopause
- Menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual
Risks & Causes
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV (Human Papillomaviridae Virus). HPV is a very common virus that can be passed on through any type of sexual contact with a man or women.
Down below are some more risks/causes of cervical cancer:
- Family history (it may run in your family genes)
- Having children from a young age such as 17
- Contraceptive pill
- Other sexually transmitted infections
- HIV or HPV
How can you reduce the risk of getting Cervical Cancer:
- Attending cervical screening when invited
- Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
- Taking up HPV Vaccination
- Knowing where to find support and further information
Please don’t be afraid to attend your screenings as they are very important and are able to detect a lot of things that you may need to be wary of for the future. The aim of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is to help raise awareness as this cancer type is one of the main cancers that affect women.