January – Cervical Cancer Awareness

Cervical Cancer prevention week 21st – 27th January 2019

Do you know how cervical cancer can be prevented? Cervical Cancer Prevention Week aims to help as many people as possible know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and to educate others.

How can you reduce your risk of cervical cancer?

All women and people with a cervix should know how cervical cancer can be prevented. This means:

  • Attending cervical screening when invited
  • Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
  • Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18
  • Knowing where to find support and further information

In the UK 2 women lose their lives to cervical cancer and 9 are diagnosed with the disease, every day. 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening (smear tests). 

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

There are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer that you should be aware of. These include;

  • Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
  • Post menopausal bleeding: if you are not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have stopped it for six weeks or more
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
  • Lower back pain

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms or are concerned about any new symptom you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. You should report these symptoms even if you have recently had a cervical screening (smear test) that came back normal. Remember, these symptoms can be associated with many other conditions that are not cancer related.

It is important to attend regular cervical screening when you are invited as there are usually no symptoms associated with abnormal cervical cells and not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer experience symptoms.

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