The neck of the womb (i.e. the cervix) connects the womb and vagina inside a woman’s body – it’s where a baby passes through before it’s born. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells multiply in the cervix.
Cancer Research UK pointed out that unusual vaginal bleeding is a sign of cervical cancer.
What’s classified as “abnormal” vaginal bleeding?
Abnormal vaginal bleeding occurs “at times other than when you’re having a period”. Examples include:
- Between periods
- During or after sex (post coitus)
- At any time after your menopause
Other signs of cervical cancer include:
- Discomfort or pain during sex
- A vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant
- Pain in the area between the hip bones (pelvis)
Smoking is thought to reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, meaning the body may struggle to clear a HPV infection.
Those on immunosuppression drugs for a long time can also be at an increased risk of retaining the HPV virus.
In the UK, people with a cervix between the ages of 25 to 64 should be invited for a free NHS cervical screening (i.e. a smear test).
This invitation usually arrives by letter, so it’s vital to be registered to a local GP’s office, alongside updated contact details.
For more information and support about going for cervical screening, results and treatment, you can contact Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust; their helpline is available on 0808 802 8000.
The Eve Appeal charity wanted to stress that the prospect of a complete cure is good for cervical cancer diagnosed at an early stage.
However, “this decreases the further the cancer has grown into or around the cervix”.
This highlights the importance of a regular smear test to identify anything troubling sooner.