Spotting the early signs of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer screening in central London

NHS England’s chief exec Amanda Pritchard recently made the ‘truly momentous’ pledge to eliminate cervical cancer in England by 2040 by ramping up the current HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening programme.

A smear test is the best protection against cervical cancer as with regular screening, it can often be caught early – and early detection and prevention are the key to beating this disease.

Cervical cancer symptoms to watch out for

Being aware of the warning signs of cervical cancer is also essential although, early on, it is often hard to detect, which is why cervical cancer screening is so critical. When symptoms of early-stage cervical cancer do occur, they may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding: one of the most common early signs of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding. This includes bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause. Any unexpected changes in your menstrual cycle or unusual bleeding should be promptly discussed with a healthcare professional.
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort: persistent pelvic pain or discomfort can be an early warning sign. This discomfort may range from a dull ache to sharp, intense pain. If you experience ongoing pelvic pain that is unrelated to your menstrual cycle or other known causes, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse: pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, can be indicative of cervical abnormalities. While various factors can cause this symptom, it’s essential to rule out potential cervical cancer and address any concerns with your GP.
  • Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odour: unusual vaginal discharge that may be watery, bloody, or have a foul odour could be a sign of cervical cancer. While vaginal discharge is normal, any sudden changes or persistent abnormalities should be checked.

Regular gynaecological check-ups, regular smear tests, and HPV vaccinations remain crucial in preventing and detecting cervical cancer. However, knowing these early warning signs could mean seeking medical intervention promptly. Call us on +44 (0)20 4580 1152 to arrange a Well Woman Medical or GP Appointment for your cervical cancer screening.