A GP Writes: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (23rd-29th January 2023)

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening.

What is the cervix?
  • The cervix is the opening between the womb (uterus) and vagina
  • Cervical cancer is a cancer of any part of the cervix
  • Anyone with a cervix is potentially at risk. This includes women, trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with a cervix


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that, “when diagnosed, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively”.


What causes Cervical cancer?
  • Most types of cervical cancer are caused by certain high-risk types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • This is contracted by any form of sexual contact.


What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

These include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding e.g., bleeding in between menstrual periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse, bleeding after the menopause, heavier bleeding than normal
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic/ lower abdominal area or lower back
  • Any changes to normal vaginal discharge.


How to reduce the risk of cervical cancer?
  • HPV vaccine is recommended for all adults aged 26 and younger. It protects against the types of HPV that cause cases of genital warts and cervical cancer
  • Regular cervical screening tests which aim to assess the health of the cervix. Women receive invites in the post as part of the National Screening Programme. Women between the ages of 25 and 49 are invited every 3 years and women between the ages of 50 and 64 are invited every 5 years
  • Stop smoking
  • Use condoms during intercourse.


  • Women who are suspected to have cervical cancer will be referred to Gynaecology doctors and further tests will be required to confirm the diagnosis and then to discuss how to proceed
  • Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.


Do contact your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse promptly if you are experiencing any worrying symptoms or would like to discuss further.


Author: Debs Basu, Teladoc Health UK GP


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