Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix (the bit in between the vagina and the womb) and can affect anyone with a cervix at any age, however, it is usually found in those 30 – 45 years of age.
It is very rare under 25 years of age. In the UK the NHS provides a very successful cervical screening programme which is said to save over 4,000 lives each year!
Cervical cancer is caused by a super common STI – HPV, something that 80% of us will come into contact with but usually clears up on its own. There are over 100 strains of HPV and some strains cause cells to grow abnormally, and over time, these abnormalities can lead to cancer.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Just because you may have had HPV immunisation this does not mean that you are protected from developing cervical cancer.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
- Persistent pain in the pelvis or during sex
- Unusual and persistent discharge
- Bleeding in between periods or post-menopause
- Bleeding post-sex
NEVER feel silly for going to the doctor, no matter how small it seems, it's YOUR body and you know it better than them!
Treatments for Cervical Cancer
Once you and your doctor are aware of the stage of your cancer the following treatments may be possible:
Small cancers can sometimes be removed within the cervix, depending on the stage of cancer.
For early-stage cervical cancer, they can sometimes be treated by removing abnormal cells from the cervix to be studied. If the tissue grows back normal then no further treatment is needed.
Removal of the uterus and cervix.
Removal of the cervix.
The removal of the uterus and 2cm of the upper vagina and tissues around the cervix.
When you have either of the hysterectomies you will also have a pelvic lymphadenectomy (removal of the lymph nodes in your pelvis) and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes).