This Spring, we want to spotlight a really important cause and charity. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity. They’re a fantastic charity that are fighting to reduce the impact that cervical cancer has by providing the trustworthy information, support and campaigning for change.
As a woman-led business, this is a really important topic that is very close to our hearts at Navy.
1 in 142 UK females will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime with 99.8% of these cases in the UK being preventable and it is most common in women in their early 30’s.
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix grow in an uncontrolled way and eventually form a growth. If not caught early, the cancer cells gradually grow into the surrounding tissues and may spread to other areas of the body.
What is cervical screening?
A cervical screening (also known as a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. It’s important that this is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer. All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should automatically be invited by letter for a screening.
During your screening appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix. The test itself should take less than 5 minutes with the appointment about 10 minutes and is usually done by a female nurse or doctor.
The sample is then checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause changes to the cells of your cervix, these are called ‘h types of HPV and if these are found, the sample is then checked for any changes in the cells of your cervix. These can then be treated before they get a chance to turn into cervical cancer. If these types of HPV are not found, you don’t need any further tests.
Tips to make your cervical cancer screening easier
Due to the context of cervical cancer screening, there is a lot of stigma and anxiety surrounding it. It is so important to attend this screening so we’ve put together some tips to make this easier.
- Wear something you can leave on during the test, like a skirt or long jumper.
- Bring someone with you for support.
- Try breathing exercises to help you relax, the nurse or doctor doing this test can help you with distraction techniques if you’re worried.
- Bring something to listen to or read during the test.
- Don’t feel embarrassed to talk. Telling your nurse or doctor how you feel will help them understand and you can get the support you need.
What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?
Sometimes cervical cancer hor may not be obvious. An important thing you need to remember is that these symptoms can also happen for other reasons than cervical cancer. If you have any worries or concerns, we’d recommend getting in touch with your GP.
The most common symptoms of cervical cancer are:
- Vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you. Including after menopause, after sex or between regular periods.
- Changes to vaginal discharge.
- Pain or discomfort during sex.
- Unexplained pain in your lower back or between your hip bones (pelvis).
Jo’s Cervical Cancer trust has a helpline that you can also contact if you would like to talk through anything or if you want to reach out for any support, you can find their helpline information on their website: