5 Symptoms of Cervical Cancer You May Not Know

  • Women are encouraged to look for the most common signs of cervical cancer

  • Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer, with around 3,200 new cases each year, while one in 142 women will be diagnosed in her lifetime.

  • While cervical cancer can often be asymptomatic, there are some signs that experts say you should never ignore.

  • From painful sex to fatigue and unexplained weight loss, read on to learn more about potential signs of cervical cancer and how spotting them early could save your life.

Women are urged to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer.  (Getty Images)

Women are urged to be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer. (Getty Images)

Women could be missing out on some potential key symptoms of cervical cancer, due to a lack of awareness about what to look out for, a health expert has warned.

The research, from Cancer Research UK, found that there are around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer in the UK every year, or almost nine every day.

Cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer, with around 3,200 new cases each year, while one in 142 women will be diagnosed in her lifetime.

Unfortunately, too few women know the signs of cervical cancer and only 69.9% of eligible women aged 25-64 accepted the offer of free cervical screening in 2021-22 .

Read more: 12 things people wish they knew about smear tests

As this week marks the start of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, Yahoo UK spoke with Valentina Milanova, founder of women’s health research and development company Daye, to highlight the five common symptoms of gynecological cancer that we should all watch out for.

Although cervical cancer can often be asymptomatic, which is why it’s so important to attend regular cervical screenings so your doctor can check for precancerous cells, there are certain symptoms that you should never ignore.

“One of the hardest things about cervical cancer is that in its early stages it often has no symptoms,” says Milanova. “It is not until he is at an advanced stage that symptoms begin to appear. This is why it is extremely important that all women and women assigned at birth (AFAB) attend their regular cervical screenings ( also called smear tests).

“Cervical screening is one way to prevent cervical cancer because it tests for HPV, which causes the majority of cervical cancer cases.

“If caught early, cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. If you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor or your local sexual health clinic for further investigation.”

Read more: Why it’s time to restart Jade Goody’s cervical smear test legacy

Experts want women to watch for unusual discharge, which is a potential symptom of cervical cancer.  (Getty Images)

Experts want women to watch for unusual discharge, which is a potential symptom of cervical cancer. (Getty Images)

From unexpected vaginal bleeding to painful intercourse, Milanova believes that if more women could spot these signs, they could be diagnosed and receive treatment sooner.

Vaginal bleeding

The bottom line here is that vaginal bleeding is unusual for you, including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods, or after menopause.

“Bleeding or spotting after a pelvic exam or heavier than usual periods could also be symptoms of gynecological cancers, such as cervical cancer,” says Milanova.

Unusual vaginal discharge

Women should watch for changes in the consistency, smell, and amount of vaginal discharge, including thicker discharge, discharge with an unpleasant odor, and an increase in the amount of discharge or discharge that has color different from normal.

“A pink or reddish discharge is an indication of bleeding and should be discussed with your doctor,” says Milanova.

Watch: Woman who couldn’t carry a child after cervical cancer becomes a mum – after her friend was her surrogate

painful sex

Pain during sex, including irritation in and around the vagina and vulva, is another potential sign that women shouldn’t ignore.

Back ache

Pain in the lower back, between the hip bones (pelvis) or in the lower abdomen, especially when persistent, is also something women are encouraged to watch out for.

Read more: ‘We never thought this would happen’: After cervical cancer, mum welcomes baby girl

Another potential sign of cervical cancer is painful sex.  (Getty Images)

Another potential sign of cervical cancer is painful sex. (Getty Images)

Fatigue, loss of appetite, or unexplained weight loss

According to Milanova, cervical tumors produce small proteins called cytokines. Some of these proteins can suppress your appetite and cause changes in your metabolism, causing fat to be broken down at a higher than normal rate.

Although many of these symptoms could be due to a number of less serious reasons, it is very important to get checked out.

If you have another condition like fibroids or endometriosis, you may have symptoms like these regularly.

You might get used to it. But the NHS says it’s important to be seen by a GP if your symptoms change, get worse or don’t seem normal.

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