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Ashley’s top tips for handling potential symptoms of cervical cancer

I was meant to go for my cervical screening in June 2020 but with the world as it was and not wanting to have to book time off work, I put it off. Life then got in the way, and somehow almost two years had passed and I kicked myself up the arse to go for my cervical screening. I was diagnosed with cell changes but wasn’t concerned. I had been for a colposcopy before but after this one something happened and I never got my results. So I forgot all about it.

Life went on until I started noticing some issues. After being diagnosed with endometriosis five years ago, I had experienced a lot with my body – so when I started experiencing vaginal bleeding, I brushed it off as heavy periods and endo symptoms. It got really bad and I mentioned to a friend that sometimes my periods were every two weeks and so heavy that I was bleeding through the pad to my knickers. She was like, “that’s not normal.” 

This confused me, as it was normal to me. With her comment in my head, I went for another colposcopy appointment and they found cervical cancer. Very quickly after that I had a full hysterectomy. This was a frightening experience but thanks to the expertise of the team around me and my friends and family I was fully supported. 

Here is my advice for anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms of cervical cancer:

  • Keep a note of what you are experiencing – I use flow tracker which helped me remember everything I had experienced and when, making it easy to inform my doctor
  • If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. If you are feeling pain, investigate, don’t just live with it.
  • Chase if you don’t get results. Don’t ignore it or forget like me – get those results so you can make informed decisions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask work for time off, shift changes or anything to help you attend important appointments like your cervical screening or colposcopy.
  • Be pushy – fight for your health and if you don’t feel like you can, have someone such as a partner, friend or parent to advocate for you.
  • There is this general female assumption that by asking questions, calling the doctor or talking about your issues, you are being annoying. YOU ARE NOT! Please remember you aren’t bothering anyone.

If I was your friend, I would want you to be healthy and happy. I would want you to talk to me about your worries and questions, not feel ashamed or like you might be ‘making a fuss over nothing’. You and your health come first, no matter what. 

If you are experiencing any cervical cancer symptoms, please speak to your GP >

Help us raise awareness of the symptoms by joining our campaign >

Last Updated: 
29 Jul 2022