● Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and the main cause is the human papillomavirus (HPV)
● Smoking is known to increase the risk of cervical cancer, and there is some evidence that being overweight or obese might increase your risk too
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and the seventh most common cancer overall. It is also one of the most preventable cancer types. In this article, Perci Health’s lead Cancer Nurse Specialist, Rachel Rawson, offers key information about cervical cancer that everyone should know, including risk factors, and signs and symptoms.
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix – the opening from the top of the vagina to the womb. The main cause of cervical cancer is a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many different types of HPV. Most are harmless but some can cause abnormal cell changes that may develop into cervical cancer. HPV can be passed on through close skin to skin contact, usually during sexual activity, vaginal, anal or oral sex and sharing sex toys.
At the early stage, cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms and is usually found and treated because of cervical screening tests.
Cervical cancer is more common in younger women. You may have an increased risk of cervical cancer if your mother, sister or daughter has had cervical cancer. It is not yet known whether this is linked to faulty genes, or shared lifestyle factors, like smoking, which is known to increase the risk of cervical cancer. There is also some evidence that being overweight or obese might also increase the risk of cervical cancer.
Talk to your General Practitioner if you experience any of the following symptoms:
● Unusual vaginal bleeding, including after the menopause, after sex, or between regular periods
● Changes to vaginal discharge
● Pain or discomfort during sex
● Unexplained pain in your lower back or pelvis
Any staff member can use Perci Health – whether you are the one living with cancer or supporting someone else. Email email@example.com to request a referral from the HR Team or ask your line manager.