Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is 18th to 24th January with the aim to let as many people as possible know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and to educate others!
Cervical cancer starts in the cells in the cervix. The cervix joins the top of the vagina to the lower part of the womb.
Cervical cancer can develop on the outer surface of the cervix and inside the cervix in the cervical canal. Most cervical cancers develop where these parts of the cervix meet – an area called the transformation zone.
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Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Very early-stage cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms.
Common symptoms of cervical cancer include:
- heavier periods that you normal have
- vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after the menopause
If you get symptoms between your regular cervical screening appointments, do not wait for your next appointment. Talk to your GP or practice nurse and get checked out. These symptoms can be embarrassing, but your GP or practice nurse will understand.
How can I reduce my risk of Cervical Cancer?
- Attending Cervical Screening when invited. Regular Cervical Screening is the best way to identify abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage.
- Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18. Although the HPV vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer, it does not guarantee that you will not develop the condition. You should still attend cervical screening tests, even if you’ve had the vaccine.
- Avoid smoking. You can reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer by not smoking. People who smoke are less able to get rid of the HPV infection from the body, which can develop into cancer.
- Safer sex. Most cases of cervical cancer are linked to an infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can be spread through unprotected sex, so using a condom can reduce your risk of developing the infection.