Lisa Maffia discusses her 'cervical cancer' diagnosis
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Cervical cancer claims around 3,200 new victims each year in the UK, leading to around 850 deaths annually. Fortunately, knowing the warning signs of this deadly condition and attending screenings are the first steps in identifying this cancer. A doctor has shared that menorrhagia could ring alarm bells.
From smoking to an unhealthy diet, there are various triggers for changes to genes that control the way your cells function, especially how they grow and divide.
However, there are also some viruses that can set off this daunting process, leading to cancer.
Patient Claim Line’s Senior Litigation Executive, Kate Goodman, said: “Cervical cancer is found anywhere in the cervix which is the opening between the vagina and the womb.
“Most cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of HPV.”
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That’s why Dr Radhika Vohra, GP at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, urged to get an HPV vaccine that can protect you against specific types of cancer.
Dr Vohra said: “This includes certain types of mouth, throat, anal and genital cancers, and cervical cancer.”
What are the signs of cervical cancer?
One of the most “common” symptoms of cervical cancer is menorrhagia, according to the doctor.
Menorrhagia describes heavier or longer than usual menstrual bleeding.
Abnormal bleeds that occur after sex, between periods or after menopause could also be red flag signs.
Apart from vaginal bleeding, you may also start noticing vaginal discharge.
Dr Vohra said: “Other common symptoms include pain during sex and pain in your pelvic, lower back and/or abdominal areas.”
Goodman added: “You should seek an appointment with your GP if you’re experiencing any changes to vaginal discharge, bleeding or pain.”
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The NHS explains that conditions like fibroids or endometriosis trigger symptoms like these regularly.
You may even get used to them but it’s “important” to get these warning signs checked, the health service adds.
Fortunately, cervical cancer is often treatable, with different options available.
Goodman said: “Treatment of cervical cancer will depend upon your individual situation, but may include chemotherapy or radiotherapy and potentially surgery such as a hysterectomy.”
How to prevent cervical cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key intervention that can help prevent cervical cancer is getting vaccinated against HPV and having regular screening tests.
Cervical screening, or a smear test, shows whether your cervix is infected with HPV, helping to detect any changes early.
Patient Claim Line’s Litigation Executive Alexandra Penk said: “Cervical cancer can be prevented by making more people aware of its importance.”
The expert instructed people to:
- Attend cervical screening when invited by their health practitioner
- Be aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any symptoms
- Talk to family and friends to ensure they know how they can reduce their risk and prevent cancer occurring
- Know where to find support locally and further information which will be widely available at your GP and local family planning clinic.
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