Cervical cancer can be present with symptoms or not. Early stage cervical cancers do not usually have symptoms and are frequently detected through cervical screening. However, there are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer:
- abnormal bleeding
- post menopausal bleeding
- unusual discharge
- discomfort/pain during sex
- lower back pain.
In 2012, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust ran a survey asking 170 women who had been through cervical cancer, if prior to diagnosis, they experienced any symptoms that could have been related to cervical cancer. Almost 70% of participants in the survey said they had experienced symptoms and of those abnormal bleeding was the most recognised symptom followed by unusual or unpleasant discharge. Importantly of those participants who experienced symptoms of cervical cancer only 30% said they recognised these symptoms as being related to cervical cancer.
For Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2013, we urge women who have experienced any of the symptoms above to talk to a GP. Let's make sure women are talking about changes in their body and ensuring they seek medical attention if necessary - chances are it won't be cervical cancer but better to get it checked!
You can help us raise awareness by ordering our new poster.
And of course by talking about symptoms...
"Five months before I was due my next three yearly cervical screening test I started to see a very tiny amount of bleeding in between periods, not every month but occasionally, mostly after sexual intercourse. I put this down to a cervical erosion from years ago after giving birth - I have three children.
I have always had regular, normal periods with no gynaecological problems what so ever so when, at my cervical screening test, my nurse practioner asked me questions about cervical problems I was quite surprised. She then went to consult the Doctor who came into the room and said to me that they thought I had cancer. I was utterly shocked...
...I would recommend for anyone that is experiencing anything out of the ordinary for their body to get it checked by a medical expert, even if it’s just for peace of mind."
Read the rest of Susan's story here.