Third Of Women Think Cervical Cancer Symptoms Are 'Normal', Suggests Study

Only a third of women would visit a GP if they experienced a common symptom of cervical cancer, figures suggest.

Just 33% of women would go to see a doctor if they bled outside of a period, according to a poll of 2,700 women.

Almost a quarter (23%) of women surveyed by charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said they had experienced abnormal bleeding, but a third of them said they did not go to a medical professional straight away because they felt it was normal for a woman.

Of the one in five who said they had previously experienced pain or discomfort during sex, another symptom of the disease, 68% said they did not see a medical professional because of it.

Robert Music, director of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: "Symptoms for cervical cancer like abnormal bleeding and pain during sex can be quite common, so it's understandable that women may not take urgent action.

"However, it is worrying to see that many are prepared to put up with these conditions, dismissing them as normal and just part and parcel of being a woman.

"Every day in the UK nine women are diagnosed and nearly three women die from the disease. Early detection is, therefore, key to improving survival rates and quality of life.

"It's imperative that women are made fully aware of all the symptoms of the disease as well as feel confident enough to visit the doctor if they notice anything unusual going on with their body - whether this is a noticeable change in vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding or pain during intercourse, they should not be embarrassed or suffer in silence."

To mark Cervical Cancer Prevention week, the charity is trying to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease.

A separate poll of 2,200 women showed that 53% did not think that pain or discomfort during sex was a symptom of the disease and 52% did not think that bleeding during or after sex was a sign to look out for.

Mr Music added: "We are very concerned about awareness levels of this disease and that's why, through Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, we are calling for all women to take note of the disease's symptoms, as well as seek medical advice if they experience any.

"Similarly, we are also asking medical professionals to make their patients aware through face-to-face contact and by displaying our awareness materials."

In 2010, 2,851 women in the UK were diagnosed with cervical cancer. In the same year, 926 women died from the disease.