Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the woman’s cervix. Key warning signs of the condition include any changes to your body, and if you have symptoms, you should speak to a doctor straight away.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Most people diagnosed with the cancer are aged between 30 and 45.
Attending cervical screening appointments could identify your risk, even if you aren’t showing any signs of the cancer.
One of the key warning signs of cervical cancer is having any unexplained bleeding.
Vaginal bleeding is usually the very first warning sign of cervical cancer, according to the NHS.
Some patients may find that they bleed between periods, or even after they’ve been through the menopause.
You also shouldn’t ignore bleeding after sex, it added.
If you notice any type of unusual vaginal bleeding, it’s crucial that you speak to a doctor.
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“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 to you attend all your cervical screening appointments.
“In most cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer.
“Visit your GP for advice if you experience any type of abnormal vaginal bleeding.”
But just because you develop vaginal bleeding, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer.
It may also be caused by an infection, celiac disease, or even cervical polyps.
Some women may find that they bleed as a result of fluctuating hormone levels.
Your vaginal bleeding is more likely to be caused by cervical cancer if it’s accompanied by any of the more common warning signs.
Other cervical cancer symptoms may include a loss of appetite, severe pain in the back, constipation, finding blood in your urine, and even incontinence.
There’s no way to prevent cervical cancer, but you can lower your risk with a few lifestyle changes.
HPV can be spread through unprotected sex, so using a condom could also lower your risk of developing the infection.
The NHS cervical cancer vaccination programme aims to protect against four types of HPV. Girls are offered the vaccine when they’re 12 or 13 years old, but it’s available to patients up to 18 years old.