Cervical cancer awareness month

Jade Scoble reminds us that January is cervical cancer awareness month

January is cervical cancer awareness month, and it is used to raise as much awareness of cervical cancer and screening as possible. Every day in the UK two people lose their lives to cervical cancer and nine more women will be given a life-changing diagnosis. Unfortunately, the rates of invasive cervical cancer have increased in rent decades, which has been found to be due to women not attending their smear tests and therefore there has been an outpour of charities campaigning to raise awareness.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

The main symptoms of cervical cancer are;

  • Vaginal bleeding after sex
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods, or periods that are heavier or last longer than usual
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Discharge that is watery and has a strong odor, or contains blood.
  • Pain during sex or pelvic pain

Who is more likely to get cervical cancer?

You are unable to get cervical cancer if you have had surgery to remove your womb and cervix and any women with a cervix is able to get cervical cancer, but it can be more likely if;

  • You’re under 45
  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You have given birth to multiple children, or had children at a young age (under 17 years old)
  • Your mother took the hormonal medicine diethylstilbestrol whilst pregnant with you
  • You have had vaginal, vulval, kidney or bladder cancer in the past

Cervical screening (Smear Tests)

Due to the increase in cervical cancer, cervical screening (also know as a smear test) began in 1964, with the aim to detect cancerous cells and therefore help to prevent it. During the screening, a small sample of cells from the cervix will be taken and the cells will be checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

If your screen test results return as normal then you usually do not need to return for another 3 years, as this usually means that the risk of cervical cancer is very low. If your test results show abnormal cells, further tests will be needed, such as;

  • A Colposcopy (another test to look at the cervix)
  • Possibly another cervical screening test in 1 year.

Unfortunately, up to a third of women who receive an appointment for cervical screening, do not attend and NHS England have recently sent a request to urge all women between the ages of 25-40 to book their screening tests. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2023/01/nhs-urges-women-to-book-a-cervical-screening-as-a-third-dont-take-up-vital-offer/

Jade Scoble

Jade Scoble

Jade Scoble

Jade Scoble

Share this post:

Share this post:

Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0333 888 0404