Every day in the UK nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and three women will die from the disease. Cervical cancer can affect women of all ages but primarily affects women 30 – 45 years. With public knowledge and understanding of cervical cancer generally low, Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28th Jan) aims to help raise awareness of the disease and how it can be prevented through a range of initiatives and awareness events.
Symptoms of cervical cancer are not always obvious, and in some instances women do not experience any symptoms until it’s reached an advanced stage, which is why it’s vitally important to attend cervical screening appointments. In the UK, the cervical screening programme is estimated to save over 4,000 lives each year.
Dr Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic comments, “I would strongly encourage women within the age range for screening to attend when invited. It’s vital to increase public awareness and make it easier for women to book their tests, including outside normal working hours. By attending a cervical screening, any early changes in the cervix can be treated. If these are left, some changes could lead to cancerous cells which can adversely affect a women’s fertility.”
The Eve Appeal, the only UK national charity that raises awareness and funds research in the five gynaecological cancers want to encourage women to ‘Think Cervical’ this January for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. They are encouraging women (& men!) to:
- Be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease
- Promptly attend your cervical screening when invited. For most women, the best protection is regular screening
- For girls and young women to know where their cervix is – a survey conducted by The Eve Appeal showed that 45% of women were unable to accurately label the cervix on a diagram!
- To know how to prevent it and ways to support the Eve Appeal’s life-saving research and awareness raising campaigns.
Athena Lamnisos, Chief Executive of The Eve Appeal, said: “At the Eve Appeal we know that regular screening, and the HPV vaccination can help protect women against developing cervical cancer. Therefore, it is important for women to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer: bleeding after sex, between periods and after the menopause, but perhaps more importantly, we would strongly advise women to attend their cervical screening when invited. We want to implore women to not ignore these symptoms, even if you have had a negative smear previously, as we know the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to cure.”
Dr Venkat concludes; “Early diagnosis is crucial for survival from any cancer, and cervical cancer is no different so acting fast on any symptoms is key. Symptoms of cervical cancer include bleeding when you are not supposed to be bleeding e.g after intercourse or in between periods. It can also cause pain during sex and an abnormal discharge. Any of these “red flag” symptoms warrant a speedy consultation and examination.”
For more information visit: eveappeal.org.uk/ccpw or hsfc.org.uk