Cervical cancer warning: Jade Goody 10 years on – five common symptoms you should know
Cervical cancer is the name given to a tumour that develops in a woman’s cervix – the entrance to the womb from the vagina, according to the NHS. Women are most likely to be affected by the cancer between the ages of 30 and 45. Reality TV star Jade Goody, who’s best known for appearing in Big Brother in 2002, died from cervical cancer on March 22 2009. She documented her journey throughout her cancer treatment, and subsequently sparked a huge boost in the number of 25-29 year old’s getting the smear test.
The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious
Cervical cancer often has no symptoms until it’s reached a more advanced stage, which is why it’s so important to regularly get checked.
The most common sign of the disease is vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, between periods, or even after you’ve been through the menopause.
Unusual bleeding doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer, but you should still get checked.
“The symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and it may not cause any at all until it’s reached an advanced stage,” said the NHS.
“This is why it’s very important that you attend all your cervical screening appointments.
“In most cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer.
“Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex, unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge, and pain in your lower back or pelvis.
“If the cancer spreads out of your cervix and into surrounding tissue and organs, it can trigger a range of other symptoms, including pain in your lower back or pelvis, severe pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys, and constipation.”
You could also be at risk of advanced cervical cancer if you find blood in your urine, if you’re using the toilet more than normal, or if you find one or both of your legs are particularly swollen.
One of the best ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer is to have the smear test, said the NHS.
The test, which is a type of cervical screening, checks the overall health of the cervix, and looks for any cells that could turn into a tumour later in life.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages so it is important to go for regular screening. Here are the warning signs that you should be aware of.
Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer
During the screening, a small sample of cells will be taken from the cervix, which is subsequently tested for any changes.
Finding abnormal changes early means they can be treated, and won’t develop into cervical cancer.
All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 should be invited for a smear test by letter.
Everyone aged 25 to 49 should be tested every three years, 50 to 64-year-olds should get tested every five years, while those 65 and over only need to be tested if one of their last three tests came back abnormal.
You can book an appointment to have a smear test as soon as you receive a letter. But if you missed your last appointment, you don’t need a letter, and should book on win as soon as possible.
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