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Symptoms of cervical cancer and how to reduce your risk

​​​The early signs of cervical cancer: what to look out for

There are often no symptoms associated with having abnormal cervical cells or even with early stage cervical cancer.  

However, in some cases, there are some recognised symptoms linked to the disease that you should be aware of: 

  • bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period​<
  • bleeding after or during sex
  • bleeding after the menopause
  • unusual and/or unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
  • discomfort or pain during sex

Cervical cancer symptoms on NHS Choices website

What to do if you have symptoms

If your'e experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it needs to be investigated by your GP.We understand you might find it e​mbarrassing, but it's very important you see your GP as soon​ as possible.

Don't wait until your next smear test is due.

You shouldn't have a smear test if you have any of the symptoms listed. This may delay you getting referred. Instead, your GP should assess if you need to be referred to the gynaecology clinic at the hospital. ​

Reducing your risk of cervical cancer

You can reduce your risk of cervical cancer by:

  • having regular cervical screening (smear tests)​ from age 25 
  • seeing your GP immediately if you have an​y of the symptoms listed above​
  • stopping smoking - smokers are at increased risk of cervical cancer
  • having the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination when you'r​e 12 to 13 years old - The vaccine is offered at this age as it's most effective when your cervix hasn't been exposed to HPV​ infection through sexual contact
  • reducing the number of sexual partners you have
  • always using a condom to protect yourself from infections including HPV

​Cervical screening and who it's for

Stop smoking with the Help2Quit stop smoking ​service

​HPV vaccine​

Using condoms to protect yourself

​Cervical cancer prevention on NHS Choices website

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