Despite all the efforts being made to encourage women to have regular screening that could catch early warning signs of cervical cancer, there has been a sharp increase in the number of women in their late 20’s being diagnosed.
This increase has occurred over the last decade and the experts are blaming women’s reluctance to attend their screening.
The vaccine known as HPV which helps protects against the killer disease was introduced back in 2008, which mean that women who are aged between 25-29 years of age were the very last of the group of women to not be given the vaccination and they are also the ones least likely to attend their regular screening.
In 2006 there were 12 cases per 100,000 women in their late 20’s, this has now risen and as of 2016, there were 18.5 cases per 100,000.
When the TV reality star Jade Goodey died from cervical cancer back in 2009 there was a sharp increase in women in their 20’s booking in their screening, but since then the numbers have dropped and doctors believe this is due to embarrassment and in some cases difficult for the women to even get a doctor’s appointment.
Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through screening and that is why women must ensure they have regular screening.
Overall, cervical cancer rates among women of all ages fell from 18.8 per 100,000 in 1986 to 9.4 cases per 100,000 in 2005.
What are the early signs to look out for?
Symptoms may not always be obvious which is why it is essential to have your regular screening, but there are a few signs that you can watch for and should you experience any of these you should seek your doctor’s advice at the earliest opportunity.
- Abnormal bleeding (during or after sex, between periods and also post-menopause) period
The earliest and most common sign is irregular bleeding as this happens when the cancer cells grow on the tissue below the cervix. It is especially a cause for concern, should the woman be postmenopausal, there is no age limit to cervical cancer.
- Unusual vaginal discharge
Discharge is normal, but should your discharge change color, smell, and consistency then you should seek medical advice. When cancer lacks oxygen it fights back by causing an infection that has a strong smell.
Everyone’s discharge is different, so it’s a case of knowing what is normal for you.
- Discomfort or pain during sex
Painful intercourse can be a sign of cervical cancer, this is because as the cancer cells grow into the tissue surrounding the cervix it swells and becomes tender. So when intercourse takes place the woman will experience pain or discomfort.
- Lower back pain
We all experience back pain at some point, and those that have painful periods associate back pain with period pain. Back pain in your lower back, pelvis and even appendix area can also be a warning sign of cervical cancer.
- Unintended weight loss
Any weight loss without a cause or loss of appetite is never a good sign, especially if you have not been on a weight loss program. Weight loss is a sign that your body is fighting to conserve energy so it is wise to seek medical advice as soon as possible.